Latricières-Chambertin is a Grand Cru in the Gevrey-Chambertin division of the Côte de Nuits. Lying slightly south of Chambertin, it produces wine that stands in the shadow of Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. However, the efforts of a few major producers, especially legendary "boutiquery" Domaine Leroy, have indicated that this vineyard should not be overlooked for top Burgundy.
At 17.4 acres, the vineyard is smaller than Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze, and appears to have proportionally about the same amount of wine produced—a little over 3,000 cases annually. Most producers can be trusted, and a few make truly excellent wine.
As a satellite Grand Cru, Latricières-Chambertin has a similar history to Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. The same AOC regulations were applied here as to the other Gevrey Grand Cru vineyards, in the year 1937.
Climate and Viticulture
The flat vineyard is fairly low in altitude, but nothing outwardly separates it from Chambertin itself. The truth is that Latricières-Chambertin boasts entirely Grand Cru-level layering of marl, clay and limestone to make Pinot Noir into an awesome wine, but there are so few producers and the "satellite" designation is so hard to overcome that the vineyard has remained obscure.
- Pinot Noir: Latricières' Pinots, which make up all of production but for the usual obscure blended Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris, are fairly similar to Chambertin's own. A combination of red and dark fruits seems very Gevrey, to go along with the smoked game that is so typically Chambertin in nature. A wild, exotic earthy component makes the wine more interesting, while there's peppery herbs, mint, licorice, and those distinctively Burgundian spice notes to freshen the wine up. This is a style that could be conceivably drunk early for its ripeness and wild flavors, but as with most Grand Cru Burgundies, it would be better after 10 years.
The Latricières appellation is fairly small, but there are a number of wineries here. All are considered good, but four have gone above and beyond to establish a special reputation for themselves.
- Faiveley: The pedigree of this cuvée has improved greatly in the past few years, whereas previously it had barely been of Grand Cru level. The improved recent vintages have been pure and silky, made in a delicate feminine style, with flavors of red fruits, minerals, smoke, and spices. A subtle, smoothly made wine, this is rounded out by oak spice and given vibrancy by lively mineral flavors.
- Domaine Leroy: Unquestionably the best wine in Latricières-Chambertin, Leroy's remarkable cuvée firmly competes with Leroy's own outstanding Chambertin and other leading examples. Leroy's famous wild earth component comes through very purely and clearly here, followed by rich notes of earthy red fruit and smoky game and leather. After the right amount of aging it should be beautifully rich and ripe with the tannins harmonizing with the flavors. It could probably last for 25 years. Still, at a minimum $1,000 per bottle ($2,200 for the 2005), it's hard to imagine this wine as within reach, even for many deep-pocketed Burgundy hounds.
- Jean & Jean-Louis Trapet: A very solid, easily Grand Cru-level cuvée, this one pretty much sums up Latricières-Chambertin and doesn't carry a four-figure price tag in any vintage. Red fruits, spices and minerals are the traditional flavors here, in addition to an earthy coffee note. Despite a wild earthy tinge, this is a very elegant style, light and ripe although still quite dense and complex. This cuvée will cost between $100 and $200.
- Trapet Pere et Fils: Perhaps not as good as the Jean Trapet, this wine nonetheless is a solid buy in most vintages. Full-bodied but energetic and weightless, this style seems to get the power-finesse combo right, although off vintages can be simplistic. Wild red and dark fruits, earth, and smoked game are the traditional flavors. $100-$200 is about the likely price here.
There are no relevant Latricières-Chambertin lieux-dits due to the small size of the vineyard, so these wines should be labeled as Latricières-Chambertin only.