2018 Henri Latour Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Beaune
By now, with tariffs, a sliding dollar, and the ever gravity-defying nature of Burgundy prices, most wine lovers have come to just accept that it’s pay to play in the Pinot Noir big leagues of the Cote d’Or.
Yet here at Waterford we doggedly try, year in and year out, to keep sourcing those absolutely delicious wines that still come in at a bargain. Those miracle unicorns in Burgundy that when we find them, it brings a big smile to our faces – and seventh-generation winemaking brothers Latour have landed us a beauty in the Haut Cotes de Beaune.
The Haut Cotes de Beaune are the hillside vineyards that sit just behind and higher than the Cote d’Or proper. In this case the vineyards are located above Meursault, abutting Auxey-Duresses.
Now I realize, to many Burgundy cognoscenti the HCB is the “wrong side of the tracks.” But I think there is an incredibly important variable to remember here – 2017, 2018 and 2019 were all warm to hot vintages in Burgundy. We can debate global warming another day, but the fact is that in the past couple of years, the Cote d’Or produced riper and riper wines. In the HCB, however, where temperatures are naturally cooler because of the elevation, the wines are now perfectly balanced between, fruit, tension, and vibrancy. Thus, while in the past, many might have associated the HCB with thin, “pretty” Pinot Noir, I submit to you that is no longer the case. And this bottle proves it:
The nose opens with beautiful and classic Pinot Noir notes of black cherry, touches of cassis and savory notes of herbs and black truffles. The palate is balanced and full but not out of character for Burgundy – there is still the classic tension between voluptuous acidity and soft tannins balancing the fruit. There is no new oak on the wine, allowing it to fully express the delightfulness of the terroir. While drinking great now, this wine will certainly last another decade in your cellar.
In Burgundy, I always find that a little bit of knowledge and a willingness to explore yield great treasure. And it’s the case here – the brothers Latour are absolute overachievers and are delivering exceptional value for what is in the bottle. Don’t miss this wine.
“A whisper of oak plays on the nose of this wine, accompanying ripe cherry. The palate adds a notion of tart, red berry plus rounded, balanced ripeness. Fine tannins frame and hold everything in an elegant embrace.” – Wine Enthusiast