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Château Latour

016

Address: Saint-Lambert 33250 Pauillac

Telephone: +33 (0)5 56 73 19 80

E-mail: infos@chateau-latour.com

Website: www.chateau-latour.com

This remarkable estate lies on the border with St Julien, the adjacent vineyards in that appellation belong to Château Léoville-Las-Cases. If looked at by its performance over a fifty year period Château Latour must rate as the most consistently great wine in Bordeaux, and for that matter read the world. Latour makes extraordinary wine; bold, powerful, dense and masculine and in great vintages practically immortal. The palate is characterised by dense blackcurrant fruit, the tannins are considerable but ripe and there is always plenty of richness to the wine. It literally hangs in the glass. For a long while it’s been a better investment than bricks and mortar.

Since Francois Pinault bought the estate in 1994 it has arguably achieved even greater heights. Recently the 2009 was rated by many as wine of that extraordinary vintage. The 2000 and the 2003 are also seen as great wines. 2010 is extremely impressive, clearly one of the wines of the vintage and 2011 excellent too. Les Forts de Latour is in some ways a separate entity rather than a second wine inasmuch as it comes from three specific plots that don’t make their way into the grand vin. This is also very consistent [and now pretty pricey] and similar to Latour itself. Declassified Latour of course does also make its way into this blend.  In 2010 Les Forts is of first growth quality. A third wine is also produced simply labeled as ‘Pauillac.’ This is tremendous stuff in 2009. Since 2012 Latour has exited the en primeur system and only selectively releases its wines when they are ready to drink.

Vineyards/Terroir: Vineyards situated on the border of St Julien. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot. The grand vin typically comes from Le Clos, a parcel of land that surrounds the chateau itself. Average age of the vines is 40 years and planted at 10,000 vines per hectare. Yield approximately 45 hl/ha.

Winemaking/Elévage: Twenty plus day fermentation and maceration in temperature controlled stainless vats. 17 months ageing in barrels with 85-100% new each vintage. Fining with egg whites but no filtration.

Tasting notes:

  • 2015 Very deep; purple edge; deep blackcurrant; some cassis; some graphite; lovely seam of fruit; little subdued at first; mineral tones; real intensity; tightly packed blackcurrants; really lovely fruit; very beautiful Latour; extract and flesh; plenty of matter but quite flattering to taste already; open; plenty of blackcurrant fruit an extract [growing in weight day to day according to the technical director]. Excellent length. Drink 2023-2040. [97.1% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2.6% Merlot, 0.3% Petit Verdot, 13.04% alc, IPT 69, 30% of production]. Tasted 7/4/16. 95-97
  • 2014 Deep and saturated; lovely colour; tight to the rim; sweet ripe blackcurrants; very nice seam of blackcurrants on the nose; layered; nice density; very polished; more open on the nose but considerable density; acid and fruit; freshness; very correct; perhaps a little strict at this stage; acidity and freshness very overt; lots of matter; very nice length. Long and elegant finish. Later opened up to reveal more bright black cherry and cassis notes on the nose; mineral palate with chew and extract on the finish; acidity strong and grippy. Very impressive, long-term Latour. [89.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.2% Merlot, 0.6% Cabernet Franc, 0.3% Petit Verdot, 12.89 alc, IPT 77, 33.9% of production]. Drink 2023-2035. Tasted April ’15. 95-97+
  • 2013 Deep and saturated; dark at centre; purple edge; tight and focused; cassis and blackcurrant tones; some elegance; graphite tones; intense; and quite elegant but with substance behind; nice linear style though. Correct; some density and chew to the palate [this is Latour after all] but nice, fresh finish. Good effort in the context. [95.3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4.3% Merlot, 0.4% Petit Verdot, 12.73% alc, 63 IPT, 31.5% of production]. Drink 2020-2033. Tasted April ’14. 91-93
  • 2012 Very deep and saturated look; healthy colour; vibrant; very pure blackcurrant aromas; lots of layers and a real seam of precision; depth; oak present; very precise and focused; quite sinewy on the palate; very fine tannin; elegant with layers of flavour; quite serious. Elegant style, not the powerhouse of 2009 or 2010 but this is the vintage here. Finesse. 90.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.6% Merlot, 0.2% Petit Verdot 12.8% alc, IPT 73 35.6% of production. Tasted Friday April 12, 2013 at Chateau Latour. 94-95+
  • 2011 Deep and dense; very polished and pure seam of blackcurrant cassis; freshness; minerality too; real core to this and precise and very deep; cassis again on the palate along with concentration; quite mid-weight but with great tension; tannin not at all chewy; nice balance; tannin really nicely done. Nice purity and a long finish. Excellent wine and in the vintage context. Just a third of the entire harvest here. 84.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 0.5% Petit Verdot 13.1% alc. Tasted at Latour 6/4/12. 95-96+
  • 2010 Dense, legs; graphite, minerals; sublimated and strong; really strong minerality, very intense with extraordinary depth on the nose; aeration revealed tightly packed layers of aroma, very focused; a nose of density and strength; very concentrated core of blackcurrant fruit on the palate; dense yet fresh; blackcurrants and cream; layer upon layer of flavour; lovely poise; terrific concentration and very, very long. Amazing. [90.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc, 0.5% Petit Verdot, alc 14.4% IPT 83] 100/100
  • 2003 Deep and mature looking; dark centre; earthy red at edge; beautiful aromatics; fully mature; spices; blackcurrants; earth; warmth here; lots of depth and ripeness; spices; blackcurrants tones and tobacco notes on the palate; substance and extract; plenty of matter here but super ripe tannins; lots of meat on the bone and some tannins still to resolve. Excellent finish. Chew and texture. Brilliant stuff. [81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot]. Drink now-2035. Tasted April, ’15. 98+
  • 2000 Still dark at the core [last release from the Château]; red at edge but still tight to rim; pencil; graphite; blackcurrant spice; tobacco notes creeping in; lovely nose; so much going on; complex; structured and deep on the palate; really strong wine; still pretty tannic; needs another decade or so to hit its stride but this is powerful Pauillac in the very greatest sense. Fabulous length on the finish. Drink now to 2040. [77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot]. Tasted April ’16. 100
  • 1995 Dark at core; redder at edge; dust, spice, earthy blackcurrant tones; quite dense on the palate with blackcurrant tones, spices and some chew. Feels quite backward in style. Pretty chewy tannin, almost, dare I say it, a little rustic. Good length but feels backward overall. Possibly still needs time? It’s a very good wine, don’t get me wrong, but overall something of a disappointment given the reputation of the wine and the vintage. 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc 1% Petit Verdot. Tasted at Latour April, 13. 93/100
  • 1994 Deeper; concentrated; wonderful perfume, seductive oak; big structure here; lots of blackcurrant fruit; fresh. Lots of ripe tannin. 93/100 Assemblage tasted at Latour Nov ‘95
  • 1993 Dark; tight to rim; good elegant, seductive blackcurrants and fine oak; good extract on palate, meaty, charming; good structure with tannins at end. 90/100 Assemblage tasted at Latour Nov 95
  • 1990 Black; arterial; huge legs; powerful blackcurrant and cassis on the nose; with iron and minerals; oak; palate concentrated and intense; blackcurrants; fine grained tannins; incredible concentration. Exceptional 98/100 Barrel sample tasted at Latour Nov ‘91
  • 1962 Deep; mahogany; blackcurrants and tobacco on nose with cedar and cigar box notes; sweet ripe palate; beautifully mature; nicely balanced tannin and acid. Elegant but fine. 93/100 Nov ‘91

Les Forts de Latour, Pauillac

  • 2015 Very vibrant at edge; saturated look; lovely depth; attractive fruit but more tightly focused; deep and special; lovely blackcurrant purity; minerals and some spices; nicely integrated nose; weighty and full; this is impressive; intensity; good length and structure on the palate. Excellent. Very impressive structure. Great length. Reminds me a little of the knockout 2010. [63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35.6% Merlot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc, 0.9% Petit Verdot, 13.3% alc, IPT66, 40% of production]. Drink 2023-2035. Tasted 7/4/16 at Ch. Latour. 93-95+
  • 2014 Very fresh colour; earthy purple at the edge; firm; substantial; mineral; wet rock; layers; tight; tightness; little oak; tight and closed on the palate; matter; acidity; grip; lots of matter; elegance; acidity and fresh; opens up later to reveal pretty fruit and layers; bright, vivid black cherry and blackcurrant fruit; tighter still though; bit closed and shut down; chew and acid on the finish. Needs to settle but potentially exciting. [71.4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28.6% Merlot, 13.01alc, IPT 70, 40.1% of production]. Drink 2022-2030. Tasted Latour, 2 April, 2015. 91-93+
  • 2013 Mid depth; purple at edge; tighter and more composed in the glass than the Pauillac; graphite and blackcurrants; chewy and tighter initially on the palate there is also attractive, creamy blackcurrant fruit too; graphite and pencil tones again; fairly tight and classical. [62.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35.1% Merlot, 2.2% Petit Verdot, alc 12.63%, IPT 61, 44.5% of production]. Drink 2018-2030. 89-91
  • 2012 Deep and saturated; vibrant at edge; sweet; some smoke; cassis; minerality; graphite tones; more immediate prettiness than Latour on the nose; some smoked meat tones when it opens up; quite dense; some chew; not austere but structured; little lean maybe in the middle; correct and not flamboyant or as show stealing as their 2010 Les Forts; overall sinewy palate; tannins fine; finesse and elegance. Good length. 76.1% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 12.8% alc, IPT 71 42.2% of production. Tasted Friday April 12, 2013. 91-93+
  • 2011 Dense, dark; vibrant purple at edge; very nice lift; perfume, cassis blackcurrants; dark cherry seam; lots of precision here; blackcurrants; lots of density; concentrated and nicely done; more reticent and much less octane here than 2010’s almost perfect, first growth Les Forts but this is an excellent 2011. Elegance, harmony and nice length. 61.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot 13.08% alc Tasted at Latour 6/4/12. 92-93+
  • 2010 Very dense, tight to the meniscus; cream and blackcurrants, very fresh and very deep; more forward and seemingly lush than the grand vin; very appealing; very seductive on the nose; plush palate but with real extract and density and real freshness too; concentrated with layers; polished and pure; perfect extraction; powerful but some how elegant. Lovely wine of fantastic length. Focused and persistent. Quite terrific. [72.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25.5% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, alc 14.3%, IPT 87] 96-98+/100
  • 2009 Very deep; legs; dark core; powerful blackcurrants; roasted note; roast meats and blackcurrants; spices and some vanilla at the edge but still quite young; just starting to get interesting! Lovely voluptuous fruit on the palate; lot of extract and matter; big and weighty; great finish. Give this five more years and it will hold for twenty; lovely length here on the end; oodles of wonderfully ripe tannin. Cries out for rib of beef! [65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32.5% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc]. Drink now to 2030. Tasted April ’16. 96+
  • 2008 Deep at centre; redder at edge; spice; blackcurrants; little tobacco; lapsang notes; nice lift; fresh palate; acidity; some texture; elegance; little awkward after the 2003 [tasted in that order]; chew and extract but proportion; fresh and acidity. Little chew at the back. Little dry on the finish. Drink now – 2030. [66.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31.5% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot]. 91+
  • 2005 Mid depth; some reddening at edge; some menthol, tea, blackcurrants on aeration; palate dense; roast character; blackcurrants; lots of material and a very serious effort this; very good density and length. Chewy on the end. Tasted Latour April, ’15. 93+/100
  • 1994 Deeper; wonderful seductive oak; spicy liquorice elements, rich, fleshy and good structure. Tannin at end. Good. 90/100 Barrel sample at Latour Nov ‘95
  • 1993 Dark; purple red at edge; good oak; fleshy structure; attractive. 88/100 Barrel sample at Latour Nov ‘95
  • 1990 Deep black; red/purple at edge; big nose of blackcurrants and wonderful oak; seductive; palate broad and big. This is super second quality. Good length. 92/100 Barrel sample tasted at Latour Nov ‘91
  • 1966 Deep; mahogany; tobacco, cedar, blackcurrants; wonderfully mature palate; excellent wine. 90/100 Nov ’91

Pauillac de Latour

  • 2015 Excellent depth; mid red/purple at edge; classic Pauillac nose; blackcurrants; pencil and some leaf; pretty and quite beautiful; firmish entry but cool and elegant with nice structure and balance; spice and mineral touches; has good length. Spice on the finish. Excellent effort. Drink 2021-2030. [54.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41.7% Merlot, 4.1% Petit Verdot, 13.5% alc, IPT 65, 30% of production]. Tasted 7/4/16. 89-91+
  • 2014 Mid depth; redder at edge with purple; bright fruit; fresh; blackcurrants; fresh blackcurrants; wet rock notes; textured with grip; cool fruit and acids; nice grip and chew. Freshness and sap. More ripeness from the Merlot; some spice; bright and grippy; vivid. [50.6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42.3% Merlot, 7.1% Petit Verdot, 13.02alc, IPT 65, 26% of production]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted at Latour 2, April 2015. 88-90+
  • 2013 Mid depth, looser at the edge than the rest; vibrant; clean blackcurrant aromatics; cool tones; some plum and sour cherry; elegant entry on the palate; blackcurrant and plum fruit; round and easy. Blend Merlot dominated. Should be fairly early maturing. [Merlot 53.7%, Cabernet Sauvignon 45.5, Cabernet Franc 0.8%] 12.36 alc, IPT 57 24% of production].Drink 2017-2025. 86-88
  • 2012 Nice saturated colour; healthy; fresh blackcurrants, some cassis; attractive fruit bit stalky in part; elegant palate; fresh; quite clean and with acid; correct and good effort in vintage context. Polished. 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 54.5% Merlot, 1.6% Cabernet Franc, IPT 63 12.8% alc 22.2% of production. 87-89+
  • 2011 Mid depth; some reddening at edge; nice cedar and blackcurrant; some graphite; little lift; blackcurrant fruit tones; some plum; vigour on the finish. Good extract and sap. Nicely done. [37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 63% Merlot]. Drink now-2024. 89+ Tasted April, ’15 [Earlier note] Deep, dark; legs; purple at rim; fresh, blackcurrant, purity; feels clean; some graphite; blackcurrant, minerality; rocks and graphite; nice balance; chew; acid here but good. Tasted at Latour 6/4/12. 87-88
  • 2010 Deep colour; tightish earthy red at edge; lovely maturity; pencils, blackcurrants; graphite; textbook mature Pauillac; lovely! Cedar and spice too – lots going on; some leaf; great stuff; lovely nose; blackcurrant tones on the palate with spices and some tobacco notes; nice grip and acidity on the finish; plenty of texture and grip. This could easily take five more years but is wonderful now. Good length too. Drink now to 2022. [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44.5% Merlot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted April ’16. 92+ [Earlier note] Very deep and saturated look; fraction less so than Les Forts and Latour, very ripe nose; succulent fruit, quite perfumed; dense attack, pretty good; very clean and pure wine with freshness that prevents the palate dipping. Very attractive wine with good length. Blackcurrants. Focus and grip excellent. [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44.5% Merlot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc, alc 13.9% IPT 79] 91-93+
  • 2009 Deep and dense; wonderfully open; lots of graphite; blackcurrants, cassis; great Pauillac characters on the nose, textbook in the very best sense; open on the palate [Merlot] with lots of material [and nice grip too]. Even at £50 [$75] a bottle this is very much worth considering. Makes you marvel at how good the grand vin is in 2009….very impressive. Third wine? Third growth more like… 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot. Tasted at Latour April, 2013. 92+
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