5th February, 2013 by Young Shi
For the London wine trade, Burgundy tastings are doubtlessly a hot topic and are attended by large crowds.
However Louis-Fabrice Latour, the seventh generation of the famous family-run company Louis Latour, has left London behind for now. He is currently running annual grand cru vertical tasting in the Waldorf, a landmark hotel in Shanghai.
Exports from Burgundy to China increased 20-25% last year, which is bound to attract more producers and merchants into the Burgundian wine business. In fact, Louis-Fabrice has been visiting China for around 15 years, way before other Europeans lay eyes on Chinese market.
As well as holding the largest grand cru property in the Cote d’Or and the exclusive membership of Hénokiens club, Louis Latour has gradually built up a reputation for tradition and innovation among Chinese wine lovers.
During long-term direct co-operation with his Asian clients, Louis-Fabrice developed his own understanding of oriental wine preferences. The business focus lies mainly in local restaurants, which he believes is the most effective way to penetrate the market. The reasons are, firstly most Chinese find it hard to enjoy big wines of heavy body or harsh tannins, whereas Burgundian finesse fits in perfectly; secondly, the majority of wine is drunk with food.
To demonstrate the fascinating impact of microclimate and terrior in Burgundy, Louis-Fabrice presented wines of different vintages from Louis Latour Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru Les Demoiselles, Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru Les Quatre Journaux and Chambertin Grand Cru Cuvée Héritiers Latour.
Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru is located on the same hillside as the Montrachet appellation but higher, producing arguably “the king of white wines” on this planet. This vineyard carries the name “Les Demoiselles” in memory of the two unmarried daughters of Beaune General in 19th century. Les Quatre Journaux is located at the south-west of Romanée Saint Vivant, a stone’s throw from the amazing Romanée-Conti vineyard, producing stunning wine of charming fragrance and velvety texture. Last but not least, the legendary Chambertin offers exceptional richness, strength and structure, full of masculine robustness.
When asked about mid-term plan in the coming years at the press interview after the tasting, Louis-Fabrice expressed two strong expectations. He wants to see more Chinese start appreciating white Burgundy with more attention diverted from grand cru alone to premier cru, village appellation as well as generic white Burgundy.