FRANCE (Bordeaux) - A vertical tasting of 1994 to 2010 shows that the estate’s red and white wines changed style from 2004 onwards, when Château Rochemorin, which had made its wines at La Louvière up to then, was given its own winery. The team at La Louvière has been able to focus its efforts on La Louvière wines since then.
The wines display a lot of potential with plenty of taste and depth of flavour, more reminiscent of the wines of its neighbour on its left Haut Bailly than those of the estate immediately to its right, Carbonnieux. Some of the creamy hints even make you think of Pomerol. From 1994 to 2003 the wines show less elegance in the way they were made with finishes that often had rustic tannins. Starting in 2004, this weakness disappeared and the wines went up a notch in quality. Don’t miss the 2010.
As for the whites, I have always thought that these unclassified wines were on a par with classed growths or even better in the 1990’s. There was a dip in quality between 1999 and 2002. The style features very fresh, lively fruit and quite sinewy body which has been a little more rich and supple (gras) over the past few years. The Sauvignon Blanc of which there is 90% in the blend, rules over the minority proportion of Semillon.
The clayey limestone soils lend freshness to the wines. For about ten years now, the estate has been using screw caps for its white wines. Tasting them is surprising. They have a quite salty and peppery smell, which is totally unknown in the bottles that are corked. These wines appear younger and livelier, but a little less softened out and smooth than the bottles with corks. I would recommend you decant the screw top bottles, which I don’t consider to be necessary for the wines with corks.
Read excerpts from my tasting notes fpr Château La Louvière:
Vintage 2004 (88): Deep colour of standard intensity. Pure, fruity, floral nose with hints of liquorice. This is a spectacular change. To get a complete feel for its structure, which is more carefully crafted than previous vintages, you need to decant it. It has more sparkling fruit and the final tannin is finer. It is very tasty. A fine achievement considering the year. Drink: 2012-2025.
Vintage 2005 (89): Lovely deep, intense colour. Fruity, ripe and fresh on the nose, enhanced when decanted. Pretty, nicely stated attack, then it grows in fruitiness and becomes smooth in the middle and very nicely structured. It is full of flavour and finishes big and powerful with tannin that is still slightly firm. Nice length. Drink: 2015-2030.
Vintage 2006 (87): Deep, intense colour, slightly aged. The nose is similar decanted or not. Ripe fruit. Slight touch of wood. Round, fruity and juicy on the palate, becoming flavoursome, a little tannic, but pleasant. Medium length. Drink: 2013-2023.
Vintage 2004 (88): Light colour. Fruity, ripe, subtle, elegant nose. Hints of pineapple and vanilla. Immediately rich and supple on the attack, becoming flavoursome and complete, much more structured than the previous vintages. A little tannic on the finish, but flavoursome and long. Drink: 2010-2024.
Vintage 2005 (87): Pale yellow colour. Fruit compote and slightly woody on the nose. Initially tender on the palate, becoming a little peppery in the middle. Flavoursome and pleasant finish but not what you’d call dainty. Standard length. Drink: 2012-2020.
Vintage 2006 (87) Closed with a screw cap : Pale yellow colour. Salty nose like the 2003 with a screw cap. Smoky hint. Big, young, fresh and flavoursome on the palate and slightly lively on the finish, when it ends up a little tannic even if decanted. Drink: 2012-2022. (jm.quarin)