18-01-2016

The thing about Burgundy, Louis Latour Côte de Beaune Villages 2013

There are but a few French region names that elicit such exuberance as Burgundy and more specifically, the Côte d’Or. You can’t really go wrong with that name. Even in English, “The Golden Slope” is about as kick-ass a name as you can get in wine terms. Within this little piece of Burgundy there is the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune. The first is mostly red wine from Pinot Noir and the second, mostly white wine from Chardonnay, although there are some whites in the Côte de Nuits and a few more reds in the Côte de Beaune. If your head is already starting to go, “What the…” you obviously have never spent any time trying to decode the regional appellations of Burgundy. Don’t do it, just drink it.

Thus we come to this bottle by Louis Latour. It’s a Côte de Beaune Villages which is an AOC of its own. This happens to be one of the middling AOC levels with Premier Cru and Grand Cru above it and the regional, AOC Bourgogne below it in terms of perceived quality. So essentially, while it has a reasonable sense of place being from Côte de Beaune, it doesn’t have a more finite aspect as you’d find in the Premier Cru and Grand Cru levels. You also pay dearly for those wines as Burgundy has become such a hot region due to its limited production.

It’s this aspect that is the most difficult to swallow about Burgundy and why I don’t usually end up drinking that much of it. With a price of 22€, this isn’t a wallet-breaker but at the same time, it’s simply an overpriced wine. If this exact wine was from Spain or for that matter, Languedoc-Roussillon, or other “lesser” French regions, it would be less than 10€. While there’s nothing wrong with it, at the same time, there’s nothing terribly exciting about it and this given that 2013 was a decent vintage. Good acidity, decent backbone, and nice red fruits. With that profile, I might as we describing a generic wine from Rioja and this is what people need to realize in that a great amount of wines from Burgundy as well as the rest of France are just “decent” wines.

I’m not sure how France gained this mythic quality to their wines but when you taste a bottle such as this, you can easily see how a négociant is able to make a living given the prices they can charge for the resulting wines. I fully admit that I always need to taste more of Burgundy (who doesn’t?) but will have to bide my time for when Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines have the good fortune to cross my path although again, I doubt I’ll find their price-quality ratio to be terribly interesting.

Côte de Beaune Villages 2013
Light crimson in color, very intense. Gobs of red cherry, licorice, black pepper. Smallest tinge of wild herbal notes, dried leaves. Mouth puckering high acidity and red fruit notes incredibly strong in the body. All in a bit of flux and unruly at the moment. Could easily sit for another year.

100% Pinot Noir 13% 22€
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