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Issue 170, September/October 2013
Domaine Latour-Giraud
Stephen Tanzer
Jean-Pierre Latour described 2012 as difficult in the vineyards and in the winery.  "The vines were tired by the time of the harvest," he told me, "so our concern from the start was whether we could keep fresh fruit in the wines.  It was necessary to do a more severe debourbage than usual to eliminate any hail taste, but that left us with less solid material to facilitate the fermentations, especially the malos.  Also, few people were willing to make a small crop even smaller by strict selection, but you really needed to start with clean juice.  We had a lot of tartaric acidity but little malic, so the malos have barely started today.  Still, we were lucky that the alcoholic fermentations were long in spite of the lowish acidity."  The 2012s were totally cloudy and in the early stages of their malolactic fermentations at the beginning of June (several of them also showed a bitter edge, due in part to high levels of carbonic gas), so I will have to wait to report on them next year in bottle.  With the 2011s, noted Latour, the wines changed in a positive way during and after the malos.  After the August racking he took 80% of the lees into the tanks and the wines took on more richness there.  He eventually bottled the '11s about a month and a half earlier than usual--in January and February of this year.
2011 Meursault Cuvee Charles Maxime($75) Bright, green-tinged yellow.  Pretty, discreet aromas of stone fruits, flowers and hazelnut.  Boasts good mid-palate material but a slight alcoholic warmth, showing more saline and nutty character today than primary sweet fruit. 88
2011 Meursault Les Narvaux($85) Bright medium yellow.  Ripe stone fruits and hazelnut on the nose; very Meursault.  Yellow fruit and honey flavors are complicated by saline minerality and framed by firm-edged acidity.  Shows building sweetness with air but this is also impressively taut for the vintage.  Finishes seriously chewy, saline and pure.  These old vines were especially vulnerable to the cold temperatures during flowering, said Latour, and the yield here was barely 30 hectoliters per hectare.  The 4.8 grams per liter of acidity is the highest level among these 2011s. 91
2011 Meursault Les Boucheres($110) Bright yellow.  Perfumed, expressive nose melds white peach, yellow flowers, honey and hazelnut.  Silky, generous and quite ripe; less taut than the Narvaux but with nicely integrated acidity giving the fresh finish a firm edge.  These 30-year-old vines are getting better and better, noted Latour, who believes that his Boucheres cuvee has been showing more personality in recent vintages. 90
2011 Meursault Le Poruzot($115) Bright pale-medium yellow.  Mellow scents of yellow flowers and honey show a bit more energy today than the Boucheres.  Silky and saline on entry, then peachy and juicy in the middle, showing good depth and thrust and a light touch.  The wine's brisk acidity will need a couple years to harmonize with its fruit but the honey-and-hazelnut finish already shows lovely aromatic persistence. 91(+?)
2011 Meursault Les Charmes($115) Discreet, complex aromas of stone and soft citrus fruits, flowers, vanilla and white truffle.  Intensely flavored and nicely balanced, with bright, integrated acidity and penetrating minerality combining to give the wine terrific verve and grip.  Finishes with noteworthy length. 92
2011 Meursault Les Genevrieres($125) (cropped at barely 30 hectoliters per hectare, according to Jean-Pierre Latour):  Bright pale-medium yellow.  Perfumed aromas of orange oil, underripe pineapple and honey.  Juicy, pure and penetrating, with nicely integrated acidity contributing to the impression of inner-mouth tension.  More concentrated than the Charmes and a real essence of Meursault, offering a lovely combination of delicacy and force.  Finishes with lovely mounting perfume.  "The most complete wine in the cellar in 2011," noted Latour. 93
2011 Meursault Les Perrieres($130) Bright pale-medium yellow.  Tight, pure nose hints at lemon zest and crushed stone.  Delicate, juicy and intense, showing more citrus than stone fruits today.  Silky and seamless in texture but at the same time more severe and backward and hiding its personality today.  The precise, taut finish leaves behind notes of hazelnut and flowers.  Needs a few years in bottle 92(+?)
2011 Puligny-Montrachet Champs-Canet($130) Bright pale yellow.  Peach, hazelnut, butter, toast and vanilla on the nose.  Then surprisingly fat and sweet in the mouth and much more civilized in the early going than the comparatively tough Perrieres.  Ripe peach and pineapple fruit flavors are nicely framed by harmonious acidity but this is essentially a lush, even warm style.  Saturates the mouth on the finish, which is firmed by an edge of acidity.  "The small crop in 2011 really saved the vintage," noted Latour, who started harvesting on August 28. 92
2011 Meursault Les Genevrieres Cuvee Des Pierres($150) Bright pale yellow.  Pure aromas of orange oil, peach and white truffle are less forthcoming today than the regular Perrieres.  Rich and rather powerful on the palate, with strong but nicely integrated acidity (4.8 grams per liter, vs. 4.6 for the regular Perrieres).  Turns much more taut on the back half, finishing very long, with crushed stone and saline mineral flavors along with notes of lemon and mint.  A bit youthfully dry today but with plenty of grip and budding complexity. 93(+?)
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