Château Latour surely represents the pinnacle of winemaking achievement in Bordeaux. The majestic terroir beside the Gironde, the expertise of the technical and administrative team led by Frédéric Engerer as well as the general wherewithal and financial largesse of owner François Pinault all have coalesced to make Latour arguably the greatest red wine in the region. It has many rivals and is sometimes eclipsed but it is surely the benchmark to which all of Bordeaux’s [and the world’s] greatest Cabernet producers aspire. In 2016 Château Latour delivers the goods in spades but as it doesn’t do en primeur these days, you will have to slum it with their latest cellar release, Latour 2005. It is wonderful and built to last a century.
Posts Tagged ‘2011’
Bold and concentrated wines have been made at Château Latour in 2014. They are fresh and vivid. There is a sense to me that these are long-term wines that have elegance and proportionality. Les Forts was more closed on the day than the grand vin which looks very impressive. We won’t see any of these wines for years, however, as the property has pulled out of the en primeur system. It now only releases wines when they are ready to drink. Currently it is the knock-out 2003 Latour, the famous Parker hundred pointer, that is on offer. This is brilliant stuff, even when tasted at nine in the morning. It has bags of life, fruit and sweet ripe tannin. It shrieks out for rib of beef. Also released are 2008 Les Forts de Latour and the 2011 Pauillac de Latour.
Pauillac looks reasonably homogeneous at the cru classé level in 2011. There’s not the power and depth of fruit here as in 2010 nor the exciting ripeness of 2009. Middle-weight wines in the main, these feel a little compact, though the fruit seems to be there in most cases and there is plenty of chew to the tannins. Most need time in bottle to evolve. All the properties could have benefitted from extra ripeness but that’s largely the vintage speaking. That said Château Pichon-Lalande and Château Batailley stood out particularly for their harmony and finesse.
There’s lots of freshness, structure and grippy fruit evident in the wines of St Julien now they are in bottle. 2011 doesn’t have the excitement of the two glorious vintages that preceded it. In fact it’s a bit of a freezing cold shower by comparison. What we seem to have are elegant, tightly structured reds that should work out OK in the mid-term but there is certainly a lot of grip and acid present in most of the wines just now. Perhaps more than any other appellation, save for Pauillac, [notes up next], these wines demand time in the cellar [though not too much time mind]. In five to eight years they should make reasonable medium weight wines though many will still be introspective and lean.
As a commune Margaux 2011 was all-over-the-shop during primeurs week eighteen months ago. Just how are the wines now they are in bottle? Many have settled, some nicely, others not quite so well, and a number are as disappointing as they originally were. Margaux of course is a large and heterogeneous appellation with a wide variety of terroirs and blends but I’m not sure this explains the differences. For me it’s more the jumble of winemaking styles found here than in the other prestige left bank appellations.
Now the wines are in bottle St Emilion seems to have faired better in 2011 than the Médoc. These are solid wines with plenty of fruit, weight, chew and grip. Things are by no means homogeneous though. One thing to keep a beady eye out for in St Emilion is over-extraction. There are properties that are pushing things too much in this vintage, though the best proprietors mercifully have kept their foot of the gas in the cellar.