Louis Latour Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2007
March 04 2010
I have tried this bottle twice very recently. One I bought myself and the other was a present, so I feel fully qualified to comment, my system in Latour saturation.
I once emailed Tim Atkin
, on the back of one of his wine columns in the Sunday Observer, to find out if it was possible to buy a palatable red Burgundy under £8.00 in the UK. He kindly replied
'Red Burgundy in the UK under £8 is impossible to find
So this one at £8.99 from Majestic
looks like the starting point.
The bottle is impressive. The classic Burgundy shape, but very thick set and meaningful. A large punt, and a wide top. The foil is properly fitted and feels good to cut. The label is classy at first glance, black classic flowery writing on a white background. There is also a nice real cork that pulls without too much trouble.
Unusually for the French, the words 'Pinot Noir' are the largest on the label. A less than subtle hint to consumers as to the contents, when normally simply writing the region would be enough in France. Smacks of modernisation of the French wine industry to increase appeal and to try and get back some of the market it has lost to the New World. For example in the UK we are now for the first time buying more wine from South Africa than France
also sell this wine, but the label is slightly different, simplifying even more and using the words 'Red Burgundy' instead of 'Bourgogne'. Maybe the charm and intrigue should be stripped away completely and just have 'Red Wine (Pinot Noir) from France
' on the label. How dull. I mean I can see the stuff is red just by looking at the bottle, no knowledge required. If I am not familiar with the term Bourgogne then I should not be spending over £8.00 on a bottle of wine. Like backing a horse without studying the form. To appreciate wine there is a little ground work required. That is half the fun. It is impossibly difficult to express everything you need to know on one small label (even harder in future if the government have their way with larger than life alcohol warnings
). We are spoon fed so much these days, it is good to throw down the 'Bourgogne' gauntlet now and again.
Anyhow I thought most people these days carry their brain around in an iPhone, plumbed in to the 'World Wide Wine Web
'. Translating a label should be no sweat
So this bottle looks the part, and nicely demonstrates how complicated it is to work out its origins - Maison Latour
, as well as being a grower is also a negociant. Negociants, in short, get other peoples grapes from the region and blend them together all under their own 'established brand' name, normally leading to cheaper prices. The clue on the label is 'Appelletion Bourgogne Controlee'. An example of a non-negociant wine would be the famous white 'Corton-Charlemagne AC' , from Cote de Beaune in Burgundy. Louis Latour do a Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru (great growth and the highest classification) which is basically very expensive Chardonnay from a single vineyard. As an aside, a nice story around 'Corton-Charlemagne AC' is that the wife of Charlemagne (Charles The Great 742 to 814) was so fed up with the red wine stains in his beard that she ripped out all the red vines and replaced them with white (Chardonnay).
So to recap, the Pinot Noir bottle in hand is not from one super special ,vineyard, but from lots of vineyards of mixed quality, hopefully skillfully blended.
In the glass the wine is described in some reviews as 'deep garnet' in colour. I would say bright red and vibrant, much like looking at the world from inside a bottle of Campari. In fact much like drowning in Campari, it has a bitter edge (obviously less extreme), and brings a slight sense of despair. I have to ask myself is this due to my palate getting overly accustomed to New World high alcohol 'fruity rich' Pinot Noir, and forgetting the subtle characteristics of Old World Burgundy? Yes and no....
According to the Loius Latour red Burgundy vintage report for 2007 -
"...What is more, the acidity present at the time of harvest and essentially due to the significant concentrations of malic acid disappears during malolactic fermentation, contributing to a fine balance in the mouth
I would say that there is still a little too much acidity there, and not enough depth. Don't get me wrong, it is a pleasant drink, and I did enjoy my two bottles, I just feel it is not quite right. Maybe the price point simply reflects this. The problem is that I am not made of money, so purchasing much more expensive Burgundy seems extravagant and not a realistic regular occurence. I would love to find a better red Burgundy for under £10.00. In the meantime my palate will have to resume with New World Pinot, hoping that it will not wash away all sense of subtlety for future French forays.
Have your say
They must be lax in the legislation before french law would not allow for grape varieties to be indicated on an Appelletion Controlée bottle of wine.