Chateau de la Tour Clos Vougeot Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2012
Deep ruby in color. These old vines offer dark berry aromas, violets, tobacco and minty notes. 100+ year old vines generates concentrated and rich flavors of dark fruit, plum, cassis and blackberries. This is a muscular yet balanced and well-structured wine that rewards cellar aging.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Here the nose is similar to the regular cuvée from a compositional standpoint but the fruit is denser, slightly riper 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.
The 2012 Clos de Vougeot Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru will be bottled around early June. It has an attractive, generous, almost sumptuous bouquet with raspberry, crushed strawberry and a judicious veneer of vanillary oak that lends it a modern sheen. The palate is medium-bodied with fine structure. There is plenty of ripe, sappy red fruit locked in here, but it feels a little compact, suggesting that it will need two or three years in bottle. But it certainly has very good potential. Drink 2017-2030.
The vineyard is ploughed, with very little fertilizer used. Replanting is only done with material selected from the vineyard and grafted by the Domaine itself. Believing in small crops, Francois insists on very short pruning, always done in the middle of winter. Destalking is not systematic: it depends on the quality of the vintage. There is no need for chaptalization as the harvest is invariably as late as possible for maximum maturity.
Since the age of the vines is not uniform throughout the vineyard, Francois Labet ages the cuvee from the younger vines in 25% new wood. The older cuvee gets 75 to 100% new wood. The oak is from the Nevers forest.
The Clos Vougeot Chateau of de la Tour is a wine of considerable depth and structure, with the unmistakable breed associated with this Grand Cru.
Containing the largest Grand Cru in all of the Côte d’Or, Vougeot, the village, takes its name from the small stream flowing through it, called Vouge. Over three quarters of the village retains Grand Cru status, and a single vineyard at that: Clos de Vougeot (or simply, Clos Vougeot). Its mass—over 50 ha—retains the single name chiefly for historic reasons.
But today, Clos de Vougeot contains over 80 owners and shows significant soil and slope variations within its boundaries. The top, bordering Musigny and Grands Echezeaux, is calcareous and gravelly on oolitic limestone and exhibits wonderful drainage. The middle sections are limestone, gravel and clay with less of a slope. The lower part has little slant and is mostly made of clay. Historically the diverse parcels were blended but today the abundance of owners means that everyone has his own style. Exploring and understanding them is part of the allure of Clos de Vougeot.
In general a fine Clos de Vougeot when young will be dense and dark but juicy, with a pronounced austerity, and needs a good ten years to bring it to its full potential.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”