In Burgundy, the name Louis Latour is legendary. Founded in 1797, the maison became one of the region’s most important producers, with some of the largest grand cru holdings in the Côte d’Or.
When the 2022 Wine Experience was planned, Louis-Fabrice Latour, the 11th generation to lead the family-run winery, was invited to appear as a Wine Star for his commitment to improving Latour’s wines and his vision of expanding the family’s holdings into Chablis, Beaujolais and beyond. Wine Spectator senior editor Bruce Sanderson recalled that when he asked his friend to come to New York, the response was immediate: “What wine and what vintage would you like me to pour?” Louis-Fabrice died of cancer in September, at age 58, but his family stepped in to honor him with wines of finesse, concentration and great ageability.
His brother, Florent, presented two wines during the seminars, while his wife, Patricia, and daughter Eléonore—slated to succeed her father in leading the domaine—poured the Corton Château Corton Grancey 2019 (94 points, $224) at the Grand Tastings. In a moving tribute, Florent remembered his older brother as a savvy businessman, skilled winegrower and gentle steward of the land. Fiercely committed to all of Burgundy, Louis-Fabrice took pride in protecting the cross of Charlemagne (most recently from a boneheaded influencer) and worked to establish the area as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and prevent a hotel from being built on the hill of Corton.
Louis-Fabrice took the reins from his father, Louis, in 1999, so the Corton Château Corton Grancey 1999—the estate’s flagship red, a blend of several Pinot Noir grands crus—was one of the first made under his direction. Florent observed that the 1999 harvest in Beaune began on Sept. 17, the same day as the legendary 1959 harvest, which locals took to be a fortuitous sign. At 23 years old, the wine was singing. Sanderson called it “a perfect example of why you age wines” and “a fitting tribute to a wonderful man with a big heart [who] left us too soon.”
Florent also introduced the Corton-Charlemagne 2018 (95, $200), which was recognized as the No. 6 Wine of 2021 for its track record of excellence, wide availability and relative value for grand cru Burgundy. Florent favorably compared the Chardonnay, which came from a ripe year, to the 1947, 2009 and—making an optimistic prediction about the recent harvest—2022 vintages.
As Maison Louis Latour looks to the future, these wines served as beautiful reminders of its distinguished past. In Florent’s words: “We’re always building on the shoulders of our elders.”