Château Latour has produced a focused set of wines in 2012. They have finesse and precision but felt perhaps a little leaner than 2011 at the same stage. Now that Latour have abandoned selling en primeur the snapshot of these wines in their youth is possibly a bit academic given that it will be a few years, at least, before even the most junior Pauillac will be released, let alone Les Forts and the grand vin itself. Handy, then, that the wine that stole the show on the morning I tasted at Latour was their Pauillac 2009, the current release of the ‘third’ wine. It’s stunning. Immediately it reminds you just how pedestrian much Pauillac is in 2012. Oh 2009, how we miss you!
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Latour’
There’s no doubt that 2011 is an inconsistent vintage in Bordeaux. The same problems that affected the region generally also had a big impact in Pauillac. Here, as elsewhere, a combination of drought, a warm, dry spring, followed by a cool autumnal summer, with occasional severe heat spikes, knocked the growth cycle out kilter. Pauillac has some of the greatest terroir on earth of course. It makes it naturally well insured against the most meagre and challenging of years. Given too the extraordinary level of investment in the vineyards and the cellars over the past decade, plus obsessive attention to detail and daily micromanagement at the finest properties, it’s hardly surprising, then, that the best estates here deliver an extremely decent glass of 2011. So much so in fact you almost forget what a tricky harvest this was to grow and vinify. Almost….
With the first Bordeaux 2010 releases starting to trickle out [at prices that seem on par to 2009] I’ve culled my tasting notes down by score for the vintage for the top thirty reds, the a dozen likely best value reds and then a dozen best dry and sweet whites as I saw it. It’s a snapshot obviously. Hope it’s helpful. The full notes for each chateau review can be found either by backtracking down the previous posts, through the search box or down under the Bordeaux Vintage 2010 profile.
Overall 2010 is dense and intense in Pauillac. The wines are less easy to enjoy than ’09, without that easy flamboyance but they do have phenomenal strength and power, with lots tannin and grip too. It will be very interesting to see how they settle. So the best wines are different in style rather than in quality over ’09. Generally I was seduced more by the style of ’09 in Pauillac to ’10. That said amongst the first growths Mouton has produced an even better wine in ’10 than in ’09, Lafite is perfect but very concentrated and dense and feels less elegant and seductive over ’09. Latour is very dense, concentrated and quite amazing – and almost equalled by a quite extraordinary Les Forts de Latour. Carruades de Lafite is no slouch this year and neither is Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild.
There is no doubt that Latour has produced a set of extraordinary wines in 2010. There is profound depth, concentration and freshness here in the wines. Chateau Latour itself, which represents only 36% of the total production of the harvest, is dense and concentrated with real minerality and focus. It is outstanding. So too is Les Forts de Latour, a separate wine in its own right made from plots outside the main walled vineyard [the Enclos], but this year also including some fruit that usually would have made it to the grand vin. Les Forts was absolutely dazzling on the day and to me it is of first growth quality. It is 40% of the production, the remaining 24% going into a clean and very pure Pauillac.
Remember you heard it here first! As originally suggested by Paul Pontailler last November on my visit to Chateau Margaux this week www.decanter.com reported that Chateau Margaux has confirmed the release a third wine in 2009, and most likely also in 2010. Its introduction is due partly to the quality of the wine made here in 2009 but also because of the increasingly strict selection for Pavillon Rouge the estate’s second wine. There is no name yet although Pontailler is reportedly keen on something short and to the point. No news either on the price.