New Arrivals: Domaine Launay-Horiot

Retail Team | October 17, 2023

Xavier Horiot, a former fighter pilot who battled for control of his family estate for 11 years, might have a spine of steel. But under his watch, Domaine Launay-Horiot has become renowned for wines that are as soft and gentle as cashmere, marking his rise as one of the great talents of Pommard.

His family’s history of grape growing in the region dates back to the 1800s. An internecine family legal drama whittled the holdings from 11.5 hectares to 4 hectares – but fortunately, those vineyards include some of the best 1er Cru and Grand Cru parcels in Pommard and Gevrey-Chambertin. Launay-Horiot’s old-vine plantings squeeze out tiny grapes loaded with concentration, making for wines characterized by filigreed tannins and superb length.

His premiere offering, the Grand Cru Chambertin, hails from a .16-hectare plot next to the vines of Burgundy legend Lalou Bize-Leroy. Showing the pedigree of the terroir and the vigor of the 2020 vintage, this wine’s coiled energy and fine mineral detail jump from the glass.

The other Grand Cru, the Latricières-Chambertin, shows the coolness of the site in its freshness and supple, muscular texture. These are typically the last grapes to be picked, and they inform a style that is elegant, sensual, and well set up for a decade or more of aging.

The 1er Cru Les Chaponnières is a lush stunner, while the 1er Cru Les Perrières, where the majority of Xavier’s holdings are concentrated, is even darker, richer, and riper, extending into an epic finish.

Xavier approaches vinification gently: he destems completely, applies new oak judiciously, and relies on pumping over in order to keep berries whole and increase aromatic intensity. The parcels Xavier possesses are hard-fought jewels, and a light touch is all that’s needed to unlock the natural beauty and grace inherent in the wines.