2014 Louis Latour “Duet” Chardonnay-Viognier, Côteaux de l’Ardèche
After having great success with the “Ardèche Chardonnay”, then with the “Grand Ardèche”, Maison Louis Latour became interested in planting the Viognier grape variety on Ardèche soils and in the original blend that could be made with Chardonnay. The “Duet” is unique because the two different grapes are harvested at the same time and fermented together. The vines are quite far apart from one another and the last week of harvesting Chardonnay coincides with the first week of harvesting Viognier, therefore preserving the acidity of the Viognier. This results in a balanced wine, where neither variety overpowers the other. It is a fine, supple, and elegant wine.
The “Duet” is a tantalizing combination of the smoothness of Viognier and the purity of Chardonnay which creates a delicate, supple, and classically elegant wine.
Maison Louis Latour
The Latours have been vintners in Burgundy since the 17th century, slowly building a unique Domaine of 125 acres. Maison Louis Latour currently has the largest Grand Cru property in all of the Cote d’Or with a total of 71.58 acres. The vineyards extend from Chambertin in the north to Chevalier-Montrachet in the south and are solely planted with the two noble grape varieties: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. All of the grapes from the vineyards we own are vinified and aged in the attractive cuverie of Château Corton Grancey in Aloxe-Corton. The winery was the first purpose-built cuverie in France and remains the oldest still-functioning. A unique rail-way system with elevators allows the entire wine-making process to be achieved by the use of gravity. This eliminates the threat of oxidation from unnecessary pumping of the must.
Since 1985, Louis Latour has been selling the wines from its own vineyards under the name Domaine Louis Latour. The Latour family founded the ‘Maison de négoce’, an important shipping company, in 1797, and it is still based at 18 Rue des Tonneliers in Beaune to this day. The company is unique in Burgundy in that it is still family-owned and family-run, having been passed down from father to son for over ten generations. To celebrate our Bicentenary in 1797, we published a commemorative book and were admitted into the exclusive club of the Hénokiens. This club only accepts companies that are leaders in their respective fields, remain family-owned, have a history of 200 years of experience, and still bear the name of their founder. There are only approximately 30 of these companies in the world. Maison Louis Latour ships its wines to over 60 countries worldwide. These world-class Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs can be found on the most famous dining tables around the globe.
AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY
While wines from the Ardeche are still relatively unknown, Latour have been active in this French region since 1979. The large region on the western banks of the Rhone sits between the St Joseph, Cornas and the white only St Peray as northern appellation neighbours and to the south, the Cotes du Rhone appellation vineyards that are found on the western bank of the River. More familiar with making fine wine in Burgundy, Latour sought to expand its expertise, particularly that for producing Chardonnay, to Ardeche. The Duet, produced since 2002, takes on that Burgundian grape and adds the overtures of the Rhone native, Viognier.
The attraction for Chardonnay producers is that Ardeche’s warmer climate, being just that little further to the south than Burgundy, reliably produces riper grapes. In The Duet, both varieties are harvested at the same time and co fermented with full malolactic fermentation. The wine goes on to spend over 8 months on lees in stainless steel.
The result is a wine that has definite food appeal. Pineapple, lemon and fragrantly ripe apricot sits amidst ginger and a goodly dollop of cream. The soft acid rounds out the palate and lifts and extends the fruit along the finish. It is a wine that you can chill down and enjoy on a warm day or you might choose to serve it lightly chilled to round out and loosen up to better enjoy with a meal. Either way, it is a great gateway into the wines of Ardeche and further exploration is warranted.
Quickie review «A fresh take on classic grape varieties, fragrant fruited and softly curved »
Country of Origin: France Date: August, 2016 Price: GBP10 Drink: now Needs food: no Source: purchase
Also one source on wine-searcher has this for $11.99, with 2018 selling just sub $13 for a little price compare…plus the ship of course if applicable
When I used to sell wine, LL was in my portfolio. I think I recall the introduction of this wine??? Edit: it seems that I might be correct, the LL website shows tasting notes for 2004. (Yes, that was a long, long time ago!)
To my recollections, this is a nice wine, quite clean and almost crisp. The Viognier doesn’t add much to the mouthfeel, more to the nose and palate. It is more than drinkable on its own, but does better with roast chicken or a rich fish dish. Very suited to sauces. I adore Viognier and remember this pretty clearly.
@albany14us I have really enjoyed the LL wines offered in the past! Some great, aged wines that are definitely in the “drink now” category. The last case I purchased had a few bottles that had gone past their prime, but the ones that were good were truly delightful. I would guess that this wine is in a similar place in its drinking window with most being great and the potential of a few that are best poured out. (Just my opinion.)
@Kraxberger@Scottw2 CA Chardonnay certainly lasts 10 years. Would I put more faith in something from France? Yes. This from the guy who has similar thoughts as you on CA reds. To me an old CA Cab tastes like an old CA Cab without the complexities/nuance of many European reds with age…this wine thing is a funny game no? ha!
@Scottw2 This is wrong thinking. I bought the last 2010/2011 Latour Chardonnay offering and they have been fine. I don’t know that I would rate them as fantastic, but they don’t drink as being anywhere near on the brink of collapse. For ~$10 a bottle in that offering as well, it was an excellent purchase.