Chateau de la Tour is the largest owner of Clos de Vougeot with large holdings in the center of this enormous Grand Cru.
In normal years Francois Labet makes two cuvees of Clos de Vougeot – the Cuvée Classique and the Cuvée Vieilles Vignes, and in recent vintages a top Cuvée Hommage Jean Morin has topped the program in the best vintages.
Old vines is the name of the game for Chateau de la Tour, and one plot of vines planted back in 1910 – and both the Cuvée Vieilles Vignes and Cuvée Hommage Jean Morin are made from this plot. The average age of the Chateau de la Tour vines is 67 years!
It’s an very interesting estate, and when I was invited by Francois Labet to come and taste the wines and see the Chateau I did not hesitate.
Chateau de la Tour – key a part of Clos de Vougeot history
Chateau de la Tour is located in the small Chateau located just below the old Chateau du Clos de Vougeot. The Chateau was built in 1890, and has remained in the family since.
The Chateau is located in connection with the main part of Chateau de la Tours holdings in Clos de Vougeot – see map below.
Chateau de la Tour is the largest owner of Clos de Vougeot with a total of 5.48 ha. The main section is located just outside the Chateau, going from north to south, and then a 2 ha section in the very center of the vineyard connected to the main section. There are also two smaller plots in the bottom of the vineyard, and one plot in the top of the vineyard.
The history of the Chateau de la Tour holdings in Clos de Vougeot
The Chateau de la Tour holdings have been in the familys possession since 1889 – so this one of the oldest of the current ownerships.
A Mr. Beaudet from Beaune acquired the vineyards from the estate of Jules Ouvrard in 1889, when Clos de Vougeot for the first time was divided – after being a monopole for several decades. Amongst the six original buyers were several large negociants including Liger-Belair and Léonce Bocquet (who also bought the Chateau).
Mr. Beaudet had a daughter who was married to Jean Morin of Nuits-Saint-Georges, and they took over the holdings in Clos de Vougeot. Jean Morin had two daughters who married into the Labet and Déchelette families, thus introducing the Labet family to the estate. On the Labet side of the family Pierre Labet had his own estate in Beaune – and today his son Francois Labet is running both Domaine Pierre Labet and Chateau de la Tour.
The early history of the Labet holdings in Clos de Vougeot
As mentioned above Beaudet acquired the vineyard from Jules Ouvrard, who was the sole owner of Clos de Vougeot from 1815 to 1889 – he actually passed away in 1860. Ouvrard was also the owner of Romanée-Conti – and between 1819 to 1869 Romanee-Conti was produced at Charteau Clos de Vougeot5.
Jules Ouvrard acquired Clos de Vougeot in 1815 from the Ravel brothers and their associates. The Ravel brothers and associate owned the full Clos de Vougeot vineyard for more than 20 years. It appears they bought it in 1791 or 1792 from Lambert Goblet (well chosen name), who took over after the previous owner Jean Fouquard, a Parisan banker, defaulted on the payment. Jean Fouquard had acquired the Clos de Vougeot vineyard as a bien national on January 17th 1791 – the price was 1,140,600 livres a huge sum in those days5.
Before the revolution the owner of Clos de Vougoet was the Abbaye de Citeaux for several decades.
The old vines … one hectare of Vougeot nectar
The core of Chateau de la Tour is approximately one hectare of very old wines planted in 1910. From this special plot comes the grapes for the two top Cuvées – Vieilles Vignes and Cuvée Hommage Jean Morin.
The plot is located very near the center of the Clos de Vougeot vineyard, see map below, and produces some wines of extraordinary quality.
I had the opportunity to taste five vintages of the Cuvée Vieilles Vignes … starting out with the 2015 cask sample tasted with the Cuvée Classique 2015 … then a set of four vintages of Vieilles Vignes – 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Chateau de la Tour 2015 – tasting notes
The two 2015s were quite ready to taste (through malo) – and just to be precise there will most likely also be a Cuvée Hommage Jean Morin in this vintage.
Chateau de la Tour Clos de Vougeot Cuvée Classique 2015
The Cuvée Classique 2015 is a big and broad shouldered wine – with a lot of stuffing – will require time. The nose is open – and openly knit offering sweet red and dark fruits brought forward by an earthy minerality. On the palate, rich and weighty with a generous mid-palate opulence. It’s pure and ripe .. with a fine balance – it’s early days so it still needs to settle down and focus.