In addition to running the family’s holdings in the Clos de Vougeot, Château de La Tour Grand Cru, François Labet looks after a selection of red and white wines from the Labets’ other vineyards around Beaune, niche plots which have been built up since 1890, treated in the same way as the grand cru. François Labet is hugely conscious of the responsibility he bears to both his ancestors and to future generations and is energised by it. Extremely meticulous, in his attention to detail, all the vineyard sites are farmed organically. The goal is simple, on paper. His perennial aim is to produce healthy, quality grapes whilst, at the same time, assuring long term sustainability of terroir. François has very fixed views of what is best for his wines and has confounded some critics, in the past, by his single-minded determination, often flying in the face of accepted practice.
The other Labet family vineyards lie further south, around the attractive, historic town of Beaune. Just as at Clos de Vougeot, they are farmed organically and then made and aged at Clos de Vougeot itself. All of the holdings enjoy the same rigid disciplines exercised in the grand cru, Château de La Tour; vines trained high and pruned to within an inch of their lives. François is a card-carrying secateur man, ignoring the current fashions and exercising very severe short pruning to restrict the crop and thereby attain better balance. He thinks green harvesting is the correction of a fault, namely not having pruned sufficiently in the first place. However he will do it in exceptional circumstances, if the crop looks too prolific.
Domaine Pierre Labet – the wines
The Domaine Pierre Labet wines are also vinified at Château de La Tour, following the same strict regime in the cellar as in the vineyard.
Red wines Bourgogne Rouge Vieilles Vignes: An accessible, pure and honest translation of Pinot Noir. Beaune Clos du Dessus des Marconnets Rouge: An elegant, refreshing red, mineral and fine. Beaune 1er Cru Coucherias: Noted for its complex aromatics, violet-infused cherries and raspberries, enriched with 100% toasted oak.
White wines Bourgogne Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes: This comes from a 45-year-old vineyard situated between Beaune and Chorey-Lès-Beaune. Accessible and generous, this is a very pretty wine, with some weight. Beaune Clos du Dessus des Marconnets Blanc: Displays finesse and richness, elegant and harmonious. Savigny 1er Cru Vergelesses Blanc: Combines innate richness with complex aromatics and minerality.