Chateau de La Tour

The name Château de la Tour denotes the ‘other’ building in the Clos de Vougeot after the famous monastic cellar which is now the headquarters of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du tastevin. This building was constructed in 1890 by a Monsieur Beaudet of Beaune, whose daughter married Jean Morin of Nuits St Georges. Morin was quite an accomplished sportsman, appearing in both the summer and winter Olympics of 1948. His daughters married respectively into the Labet and Déchelette families, Pierre Labet himself owning a domaine based in Beaune. Currently Francois Labet is responsible for both the wines of Domaine Pierre Labet and Château de la Tour, made in the Château’s commodious winery and cellars inside the walls of Clos de Vougeot.
 
The holding of Clos de Vougeot covers 5.48ha in all, including one plot of approximately one hectare of ancient vines planted in 1910. Part of this is used for a limited edition vieilles vignes cuvée, typically amounting to 8 barrels worth (2400 bottles) while the remainder will be incorporated into the cuvée classique.
 
The domaine has been farmed organically since 1992. Francois Labet prefers to control yields by rubbing out every second bud, which gives a well spaced out canopy, and does not approve of systematic green harvesting or leaf plucking. The grapes are then sorted to remove anything undesirable, placed as whole bunches in the fermenting vats, lightly sprinkled with sulphur, cooled to 6 or 7°C and left for a week to begin fermenting on their own. Thereafter the must is kept at a maximum of 28-29°C and as soon as fermentation is over the juice is removed, to avoid any post-fermentation maceration which might unleash harsh tannins from the stems. The wines are then aged in barrel, using approximately 50% new wood for the regular cuvée and 100% for the old vines. All the barrels now come from Chassin, the previous sole supplier having been let go.
 
So far the domaine has not created waves on the international scene, but perhaps this is just round the corner. Certainly Francois Labet and his team seem to be taking considerable pains to produce fine wines. Perhaps the stems prevent the wines from showing a competitive seductiveness when young.

Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.

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