Domaine Château de la Tour
Clos de Vougeot Vieilles Vignes
Grand Cru Red barrel
Tasted: Jan 15, 2014
Note: from vines that were planted in 1910
Producer note: François Labet told me that 2012 was a “challenging vintage in the Côte de Nuits for a wide variety of reasons up until the 10th of August, but it was even more challenging in the Côte de Beaune. Once we arrived at the 10th of August though it was generally remarkable how quickly the vines recovered and got the fruit ripening process back on track. Before that though the flowering was quite troubled and resulted in a lot of shatter and shot berries. While there was some disease pressure, most notably from mildew, we were able to limit the damage by treating when and how it was necessary. We began picking on the 23rd of September and brought in very clean and phenolically mature fruit and I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality as I never expected it to be as good as it was. As to the wines, they are rich, powerful and very generous yet well-balanced wines that will have that rare ability to give pleasure young but because of the concentration, age for years too. I think that they will surprise a lot of people by how well they age.” It seems that Labet rarely misses anymore and 2012 is no exception. The 2011s, revisited below, were bottled in July 2013. See also the Progress Report herein regarding an extensive Château de la Tour vertical. (Wine Warehouse, www.winewarehouse.com, Los Angeles, CA and Verity Wines, www.veritywines.com, NY/NJ; Corney & Barrow, www.corneyandbarrow.com, UK).
Tasting note: Here the nose is similar to the regular cuvée from a compositional standpoint but the fruit is denser and more complex as well. The very concentrated broad-shouldered flavors possess excellent concentration as the copious dry extract both coats the palate and buffers the extremely firm tannic spine on the explosively long but impeccably well-balanced finish. This is distinctly old school in style and will require extended cellaring to arrive at its peak. I would not recommend buying this ultra-serious effort unless you have the express intention of cellaring it over the longer-term.