Continuing the Great Legacy of the Maison Louis Latour Burgundy
March 6, 2016 | BY Singapore Tatler Dining
Eleventh generation leader Louis-Fabrice Latour shares his family’s formula to creating a booming wine business.
Like seven of his predecessors, Louis-Fabrice Latour bears the famous name of his family’s wine business, Maison Louis Latour. It was a love for the business that made it an easy decision for him to join the company, which he eventually took the helm of in 1999. A respected figure in Burgundy, Latour is also the newly minted president of the Bourgogne Wine Board, an organisation for winegrowers, suppliers and negociant-eleveurs (wine merchants also involved in winemaking). Based out of the headquarters in a charming 17th-century mansion on Rue des Tonneliers in the cobblestoned Burgundian town of Beaune, he firmly continues to perpetuate his family’s ideology of respecting tradition, innovation and terroir.
How does it feel to carry on your family legacy?
Having a Louis Latour at the head of the wine house is very symbolic. It’s an impact business asset. However, the family name is not enough. We may be the keepers of our Burgundian legacy, but we are also dynamic entrepreneurs. We put in a lot of effort to prove that we are a company of our time. A good example is our recently renovated Château Corton Grancey winery, where we preserved the fabric and heritage of the building but converted it into a modern space.
How is sustainable viticulture practised at your vineyards?
We make our own compost, do soil plowing and an incredible number of other things to protect our ecosystem, including introducing beehives to our Aloxe-Corton vineyard in 2008. Our cooperage builds barrels with wood from sustainably managed forests in France. They are mostly sourced and used in Burgundy, keeping our wines’ carbon footprints low.
Do you use modern techniques to make your wines?
We have always been simultaneously traditional and innovative, adopting new techniques early when we see that it brings progress in quality. We’ve recently bought the latest WineScan SO2 instrument by Foss to analyse our wine quality using a range of parameters throughout our winemaking process. It’s not so much revolution but evolution, with two aims in mind: precision and consistency.
The company has acquired vineyards since its founding in 1797 and now owns 27ha of grand cru estates. How do you select them?
Rather than a checklist, we keep in mind the essential characteristics, like the distance of a vineyard. My father used to say that he wanted to be able to make a return trip within the same day. We also look for steep hillsides with good terroir and potential for maturity, which are suitable for our two grape varieties, pinot noir and chardonnay.
What is next for the business?
Five years ago, we began planting pinot noir at a beautiful terroir within the Pierres Dorées region of Beaujolais, south of Burgundy and close to Lyon. This new wine will be released in June.
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