Collection: Domaine Launay-Horiot

↓ Jump to the wines

Tasting the wines at Launay Horiot always leaves you scratching your head. There is a sense of symmetry and majesty in the Pinot Noir here that implies the kind of wisdom passed down over many generations, yet the domaine's debut vintage was somehow only in 2014!? Allen Meadows wondered in 2015 whether "beginner's luck" was at play for fighter pilot turned Burgundian Xavier Horiot, though with nine vintages under his belt and each arguably more impressive than the last, there is no question that domaine's success is the result of a rare and instinctive genius.

Following his grandfather's dying wish to uphold the family legacy, Xavier Horiot spent the best part of the 2000s in a legal battle with his aunt over the inheritance of 4ha of prized vineyards in Pommard, Chambertin & Latricieres-Chambertin. She wanted to sell them. He (wisely) didn't. Fortunately for wine lovers the French courts eventually sided with Xavier, and in 2014 he was able to produce his debut vintage to critical acclaim. Fast forward to today and this is a domaine already inviting comparisons from leading critics such as Neal Martin to the likes of Armand Rousseau!

The Wine

Xavier's approach to winemaking is an unusual union of romanticism and attention to detail: he harvests the grapes in small boxes to ensure that no fruit is squashed; the grapes are never crushed; and fermentation lasts just under a month in cold cellars, during which he plays the wine classical music. The playlist no doubt includes Bach's famous Cello Suite, the 2nd Movement of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto & Là Ci Darem La Mano from Don Giovanni, such is the nobility, power and sheer sex appeal of these gorgeous wines!

The Villages "Perrieres" comes from ancient, gnarly vines, some 100 years+, and has consitently delighted at tastings, whilst the two 1er Crus "Les Chapionneres" & "Clos Blanc" offer superb renditions of the heights Pommard can aspire to. We once showed these wines on a table next to Comte Armand's legendary Clos des Epeneaux, a truly wonderful wine, though Launay-Horiot absolutely held its own despite its far more modest price point! Gone are the days where Pommard could be largely dismissed as rustic and blocky - Pinot Noir is now ripening beautifully in the village and in the hands of winemakers like Xavier, creating sensual, thought-provoking wines that deserve serious consideration.

The Grands Crus Chambertin and Latricieres Chambertin (0.16 & 0.17ha each), and Rugiens-Bas (0.59ha) are in highly limited supply, although it's always worth letting us know if interested. The former is especially coveted, and Xavier's plot lies next to the vines of Mme Lalou Bize-Leroy, giving some indication of the quality of the terroir.