3 things you didn't know about Louis LatourWith such an extensive family history in the region, there are probably closer to 300 things you didn't know about Louis Latour. Let's keep it simple, and go with the three most important facts that make Louis Latour such a special company.
1. Louis Latour owns more Grand Cru vineyards in the Côte d'Or than anybody elseLouis Latour has got to be proud of this one. Grand Cru is one of those tricky terms in wine, mainly because it means different things from one region to another. In Burgundy, "Grand Cru" is the highest classification that a vineyard can have. Crucially, it is the vineyard land itself that is not classified and not its owner or the producer. This is in contrast with Bordeaux, where it's the producers that are classified, regardless of whether they buy or sell part of their vineyard land. The Côte d'Or ("the golden slope") is the beating heart of the Burgundy region. It is subdivided into the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune. Broadly speaking, the Côte de Nuits is home to Burgundy's finest red wines, and the Côte de Beaune produces the best whites. Let's summarise, then: Louis Latour owns more Grand Cru land - that is, the best vineyard sites - in the Côte d'Or, Burgundy's finest region. That's a big deal.
2. Louis Latour doesn't just make Burgundy wineThough the Louis Latour name will be forever entwined with the Côte d'Or and Burgundy in general, there's more to it than that. Never content to stand still, Maison Louis Latour has developed vineyards and wine production outside its Burgundian stronghold. Louis Latour was an early pioneer in the relatively unknown region of Ardèche, on the southern bank of the Rhône river. Ardéche occupies some rather unfashionable vineyard land between the far more prestigious regions of the Northern Rhône and Southern Rhône. Here, Louis Latour produces some world-class white wines, exporting its Burgundy know-how and expertise to cultivate the Chardonnay grape. Elsewhere, you'll find Louis Latour vineyards in Provence. Here, the Latour team takes advantage of its red wine expertise to produce excellent Pinot Noir.
3. Louis Latour is the only Burgundy producer to make its own barrelsOak barrels are big business in the world of fine wine. French oak, in particular, is in such high demand that there is an entire industry dedicated to producing oak barrels in France. These companies are called cooperages, and they supply oak vessels to the producers of the best wines in the world. Louis Latour has its own cooperage, which is unique in Burgundy. Here, they produce around 3,500 barrels per year. Of these, about half are used to age Louis Latour wines and the other half are sold to other wine producers.