H Latour St Romain Jarron 19
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As an unabashed Francophile, I've spent the better part of my adult life investigating French wine and cuisine. Years back, when my career as a Chef was in full swing, I began making pilgrimages to this sacred land of food and wine, savoring each meal and every glass of wine. Over the years, I've developed a shortlist of favorite places in France -- Burgundy remains firmly at the top of my list.
Burgundy is one of the most important and prestigious wine regions globally; however, it produces just a tiny amount of wine. Everything here happens on a microscopic scale. In most cases, vineyard ownership is measured by rows, not hectares.
This tiny production scale allows most winemakers in Burgundy to craft their wines with an intimate, hands-on attachment to the entire process, personally guiding the progress from grape to glass. The guy or gal jumping off the tractor in the vineyard is likely the property owner and winemaker.
Vines in the Saint Romain and Auxey-Duresse subregions grow on the southeast-facing valley slopes cut into the steep limestone plateaus of the Cote D'Or escarpment. These plateaus can extend upwards of 1000 to 1500 feet, 300-600 feet higher than vineyards in Côtes de Beaune. The additional elevation and cooler climate conditions slow the ripening, resulting in a later harvest that retains a remarkable freshness of fruit -- especially relevant with global warming.
Brothers François and Sylvain Latour carry on the family tradition as 7th generation vignerons working 16 hectares of family vineyards in Auxey-Dures, Mersault, Saint Roman, and Hautes Côtes de Beaune. It's a classic Burgundian family affair with brother Sylvain growing the grapes, managing the vineyards, and François making the wine and overseeing the cellar. Tasting with François on my last visit, I was again blown away by the passion and attention to detail they both apply at every production level.
Le Jarron is sourced from a Lieu-dit -- a single named vineyard parcel -- on the southern border of Saint Romaine, a stone's throw from Auxey-Duresse. Due to its comparatively higher altitude, this is a prime example of risk and reward in Burgundy. This higher altitude presents the perfect foil to global warming, resulting in an extraordinary freshness and lift. The downside is the increased danger of frost and the risk of losing part or all of the harvest.
I can't think of a better way to describe this wine than the tasting note from my late friend, importer extraordinaire, Craig Baker:
from a 40 year average vines; 100% barrel; 20% new oak for 11 months. Severely low yield here for 2019 due to frost (-66%); only 14 barrels made. But those 14 barrels contain the best Saint Romain I have tasted here. The nose is exuberant with loads of citrus blossom notes and wet stones; great concentration and depth with classic underlying tension; the fruit on the palate leans towards tropical and pink grapefruit intwined with toasty oak. This is one of the most luxurious Saint Romains I can remember tasting; Do not miss this wine.