The 2019 vintage appears to have been a big and successful year for the Clos de Vougeot, despite the year’s warm underlying character.
It was quite a hot year, and the vines’ location in the Clos de Vougeot can in some cases decide the outcome for the producer: good, great, big and/or hedonistic.
Francois Labet and his son Edouard made three intense, expressive Clos Vougeot in 2019, as usual. These are vins de garde for sure, and hardly what one would call vins de soif, but to be fair, one would hardly use Clos Vougeots for casual drinking, even after the world reopens.
(To clarify: I use Clos de Vougeot for the place, and Clos Vougeot for the wine. It may not be logical, but at least I’m consistent.)
Chateau de la Tour
Chateau de la Tour is the largest owner of Clos de Vougeot vineyards, with holdings in the centre of this enormous grand cru.
François Labet makes three cuvées of Clos Vougeot – the Cuvée Classique, the Cuvée Vieilles Vignes, and in recent exceptional vintages, a top wine, the Cuvée Clos Vougeot Hommage a Jean Morin, has headed the line-up.
Chateau de la Tour – a key part of Clos de Vougeot history
Chateau de la Tour is located in the 19th-century castle just below the big, medieval Chateau du Clos de Vougeot. The de la Tour building was erected in 1890, and has been in the Labet family ever since.
It is connected to the main part of de la Tour’s vineyard vine holdings in the Clos de Vougeot (map below).
Chateau de la Tour owns 5.48 hectares of the clos, with the main section located just outside the chateau, oriented north to south, and connected to a 2-ha section in the very centre of the vineyard. There are also two smaller plots at the bottom of the vineyard, and one at the top.
The history of the Chateau de la Tour holdings
The Chateau de la Tour holdings have been in the family’s possession since 1889, making it one of the oldest of the current owners.
A Mr. Beaudet from Beaune acquired some of the vineyards from the estate of Jules Ouvrard in 1889, when the Clos de Vougeot was divided for the first time 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 her father’s holdings in the Clos de Vougeot. Jean Morin had two daughters, who married into the Labet and Déchelette families, thus introducing the Labet name into the estate. The Labet family had its own domaine in Beaune, and today François Labet is running both Domaine Pierre Labet and Chateau de la Tour.
Chateau de la Tour 2019 – the tasting notes
I was as always excited to taste the three cuvées of Clos Vougeot. The regular cuvée – Cuvée Classique – is made from the younger vines, which in this case are quite old, as the average vineyard age is around 70 years.
The cuvée Vieilles Vignes is made from vines older than 80 years. It should be noted that before the 2015 vintage, the cuvée Vieilles Vignes was made from one plot of old vines planted in 1910, while in recent vintages (from 2015), it’s made from old vines from all sections of the Labet holding.
Lastly, we have the Clos Vougeot Hommage a Jean Morin – also made from the oldest vines, but using only the first bunch on the fruiting cane closest to the rootstock, thus the most directly nourished by the vine. This is a cuvée invented by François Labet that adds both intensity and complexity to the already impressive Vieilles Vignes.
Chateau de la Tour Clos Vougeot Cuvée Classique 2019
The Cuvée Classique is rather cool, but with the intensity of a warm year. It is very lively; spicy, yet warm with delightful vivacity and acidity for the vintage. There is quite a perfumed sensation, with some yellow Scandinavian berries on the nose. It will need some time to unfold.
(Drink from 2035) – Very Fine+ – (93-94p) – Tasted 06/07/2020 –
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