Saturday, May 23, 2009

Well, It Is Latour...

As much as we enjoy our wine, neither our budget, nor our palates, allow us to thoroughly enjoy a Chateau Latour - one of the five premiers crus Bordeaux wines.

This bottle was a Maison Louis Latour and they're one of the best known houses in Burgundy. While they also boast some high end Grand Cru wines, this is not one of those either. In fact, we don't even find ourselves in Burgundy - although it is a Chardonnay.

63. 2005 Maison Louis Latour Ardeche Chardonnay (Vin de Pays des Coteaux de L'Ardeche)

You can tell that this is a newer breed of French wine (or more a wine for worldwide export) since it actually says "chardonnay" on the bottle. One of the more complicating aspects of French wine has been the fact that we, North Americans, have largely learned about our wines as varietals - where the type of grape is front and centre on the label. Not so in France where you needed to know the type of varietal grown in most areas. It could get confusing because not many Joe Average drinkers know an appellation from an apple cider.

I didn't know where Ardeche was. Seeing as how it was a Chardonnay, I though it was likely in the Burgundy area, but it turns out it's a small region separating the Northern and Southern parts of the Rhone Valley. Not falling under the dictates of the Rhone appellations, the growers were free to plant chardonnay vines.

In fact, Latour was instrumental in pioneering Ardeche as a new wine-producing region when it started planting chardonnay in the 1980's. Although, the wine was quite drinkable and is readily available at a decent price, it didn't enchant me enough to make chardonnay one of the first wines I'll reach for regularly.

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