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€
*

WINES

Álvaro Palacios - L’Ermita 2016
Very light red cherry, raspberry, tea leaves, dried fennel, light touch of anise, bay leaf, dried flowers, touch of fig compote, truffle. Exceptionally light and delicate on the palate, very very fine red fruits, integrated tannins, plush with a slightly buttery, velvety aspect, very long finish.
85% Grenache 14% Carignan 1% "Others" · 15% · 1160EUR
97+ 3 Stars

Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
95 3 Stars

Álvaro Palacios - Les Aubaguetes 2016
Linear plum and dark cherry notes, powdery cocoa, orange peel and blossom, raspberry at the base along with minor vanilla and dark spice touches. Delicate on the palate, light touches of dark fruit, good wealth of tannins yet held in check, medium plus acidity, very long finish. Needs much more time in the bottle.
77% Grenache 21% Carignan 1% Grenache Blanc 1% Macabeu · 14.5% · 455EUR
95+ 3 Stars

Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
94 3 Stars

Aquila del Torre - Primaluce 2015
Bruised yellow apple, bit of fig compote, chalky mineral notes, and hazelnut. Light oxidized touches that work to embellish the wine. Rich palate that carries lovely texture with the age of the wine.
100% Sauvignon Blanc · 13.5%
93 2 Stars

Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
93 2 Stars

AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
93 2 Stars

Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
93 2 Stars

Terroir Sense Fronteres - Guix Vermell 2017
Crisp red cherry fruit, touch of spice, flecks of pepper, baking spice, compacted, wet earth. Delicate on the palate, stays fresh, surprising high wealth of tannins, long finish.
100% Grenache · 13% · 250EUR
93+ 3 Stars

Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL
93+ 3 Stars