About Louis Latour
Louis Latour is one of the oldest and best known Burgundian wine producers, established over 200 years ago in 1797, and remain one of the only houses, which is still family-owned and trades under its family name. It also has one of the largest domaines in the region, owning a domaine of 50 hectares of grand cru and premier cru vineyard holdings in the Cote d’Or.
11 generations of the family have run the business, which is based at their headquarters in Aloxe-Corton, where they set up the first ever purpose built winery in France, in 1834, Corton-Grancey. Louis Latour produce a wide range of wines in their traditional heavyweight, wide bottles, with the family ‘L’ logo on every label.
Burgundy only produces around 3% of total French wine production, but is one of the most famous and revered wine producing areas; many of the wines are highly priced, and collector classics, but Latour, were one of the first to bring a range of more affordable Burgundies to the UK, and also had the innovation to expand into the southern regions of the Ardeche and the Var, south of Beaujolais, in order to create a range of more affordable, everyday drinking wines.
What’s The Background To Louis Latour?
Since establishing the family business back in 1797, Louis Latour has stayed close to its traditional values, producing hand-crafted wines from throughout the Burgundy region, yet showing unerring innovation in its forward-thinking approach, both with the creation of France’s first purpose built winery, with its 5 floors, using gravity flow, and also expanding into the southern regions of Var and Ardeche in order to produce a more affordable and volume-focussed range of wines.
Louis Latour is also a cooper, and has been since the middle of the 19th century, when barrels were not only used to age wine, but to transport wine around the world. Latour still produce around 2,000 barrels per year, all hand-crafted, from oak from the Vosges and Allier regions, which is aged for 30 months, before being made into barrels; half is used for Latour’s own wine production, the other half is exported all over the world.
Louis Latour vineyards occupy some of the most prestigious sites in Burgundy, with a 25 hectare estate in Corton-Charlemagne, and further Grand crus and Premier crus vineyards throughout the Cote d’Or region, including the exclusive vineyards of Chambertin and Romanee-Saint-Vivant. Wines from across the region, Chablis, down to Beaujolais, are also produced, with the company working closely with carefully selected growers.
In 1979, Louis Latour set up a new operation in the Ardeche region of France, which runs north to south, just west of the Rhone valley. The objective here was to produce a more affordable, volume-driven range of white wines, and the company set out to work with local growers, encouraging them to plant Chardonnay and later on Viognier, to develop a new range of wines. Whilst Louis Latour don’t own vineyards in this region, they work closely with the vineyard owners, paying a premium price for high quality Chardonnay grapes, a variety that was almost unknown in this area, until Louis Latour began its initiative here. The company owns a winery in the region, and produces both unoaked and oaked Chardonnay, the classic white grape of Burgundy, using the same principles as its mother region. Viognier has now been added to the mix.
Following on from the success of the Ardeche project, Louis Latour set about creating a similar operation for the red grape of Burgundy, Pinot Noir; in the northern Provence area of the Var, but here they purchased vineyards, and have established a domaine and winery, Domaine la Valmoissine, situated at altitude, which permits the successful growing of the relatively delicate, cool-climate loving Pinot Noir.
These 2 initiatives have enabled Louis Latour to develop a far broader, and volume-based offering, at more affordable prices than classic Burgundy, retaining the focus on quality, but making their brand more accessible to a broader base of wine drinkers.
What Styles Of Wine Does Louis Latour Make?
The Louis Latour range of wines encompasses the majority of styles from the Burgundy region, from Chablis, in the north, to the southernmost tip of Beaujolais, and onwards into the Ardeche and Provence, covering just about every price point, from the great value village wines, to the small volumes of top vineyard wines.
Louis Latour Vin de Pays de l’Ardeche Chardonnay and Chardonnay Viognier – these are warm, smooth, silky styles of dry white wine, with a generosity of peach and nectarine stone fruit, and a creamy edge – soft, rounded, and capturing good varietal character.
Louis Latour Domaine de Valmoissine Pinot Noir – from the estate in the Var, this is a soft, medium bodied red, full of ripe red berry fruits – raspberries, dark cherries and gentle spice, with a smooth, velvety texture.
Louis Latour Bourgogne rouge and Bourgogne Blanc – these make up a large proportion of Latour’s total Burgundy production and cover 29 different appellations. The wines are normally blended to produce a high quality, consistent style, and labelled Bourgogne Chardonnay, or Bourgogne Pinot Noir.
Louis Latour Maconnais white wines – from a region in the south of Burgundy, producing, rounded, creamy, smooth whites, these include Macon Blanc, Macon Villages, the popular St Veran, and the well-known, ripe, Pouilly Fuisse.
Louis Latour Cote Chalonnaise wines – this is a region, just north of the Maconnais, which produces some great value, gentle, red berry scented reds, such as Givry, Mercurey, and also some stylish, broad, yet balanced white Montagny and Montagny premier cru.
Louis Latour Chablis – a real classic, from the northernmost region of the Burgundy area, these are fresh, stylish, dry, full-flavoured whites, with a steely edge. The range also covers Premier cru and Grand cru Chablis, from carefully selected estates.
Louis Latour Beaujolais and Beaujolais crus – from the southernmost region of Burgundy, and made from the Gamay grape, these wines are joyous, lively, low tannin, ebulliently fruity, and range from the straight Beaujolais and popular Beaujolais – Villages, through to the richer, more intense styles of the 10 Cru villages, including Fleurie, Morgon, and Moulin-a-Vent.
Louis Latour Cotes de Nuits wines – this is the area, where some of the very top red Burgundies are produced, – the classics, Gevrey Chambertin, Nuits St George and both red and white, great value Marsannay, together with all villages wines going up the rankings, from Cotes de Nuits Villages.
Louis Latour Cotes de Beaune wines – the Cotes de Beaune is the home of Louis Latour with their headquarters and winery in the area of Aloxe Corton ; the range of wines from this area is nothing short of stellar, with some of the greatest Burgundy names in the world – in terms of reds, the range starts with Cotes de Beaune Villages, and works up to world class, sumptuous reds, including Pommard, and Volnay; however the true stars of the Louis Latour wines in this region are the wines produced from their own vineyards and domaine, including Aloxe Corton, Corton grand cru, and their unique Chateau Corton Grancey Grand Cru; the other stars of this small region are some of the most revered white wines in the world, Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet, Puligny Montrachet, which Louis Latour produced at every level up to Grand Cru, before reaching the pinnacle of white Burgundy with its range of exclusive, tiny production Montrachet, Corton Charlemagne, Chevalier Montrachet and Batard Montrachet.