One of the most iconic names in wine, Chateau Latour is in a class of its own, even among the other four Bordeaux First Growths. It has been the most consistent of them all for over 100 years, producing wines of incredible depth, power and longevity.
Knowledge of the past is valuable in helping us to understand the property's current reputation. Fortunately, numerous archives have been preserved over the centuries enabling us to establish an accurate picture of the past. This unique heritage shows us an extraordinary stability and continuity in the life of the property and those who have worked there during its long history, which has no doubt been an important factor in the exceptional regularity and quality of the wines.
One of the oldest properties in the Pauillac appellation, its history goes back to the 14th Century, when a fortress was erected there during the Hundred Years War. With many legendary vintages under Latour's well-worn belt, the wines being currently produced are, nonetheless, said to be their greatest yet.
At the heart of the 78-hectare vineyard are 47 hectares known as l'Enclos, the source of Latour's Grand Vin and considered by many to be the finest terroir in all of Bordeaux.
In the vineyard, however, many traditional practices have continued or recently been reintroduced. Since 2007, for example, horses have been used to plough the vineyards, as their cultivation of the soil was found to be softer and more precise than tractors. Irrigation is banned by French law, and only organic fertilizers, combined with composted vine cuttings, plant matter and manure are used to feed the soil. Biodynamic farming practices have also been recently trialled to great success. But sophisticated monitoring techniques like infrared analysis of canopies to show ripening levels or water stress are employed to insure that vineyard care and harvest timing are as precise as possible.
In the winery, the hand-picked grapes are transported to the highest level of the building where they gently descend by gravity to the top of the water-cooled stainless steel vats for an initial three week fermentation. The run-off is then transferred to clean vats for a second, malolactic, fermentation. The remaining marc or solids are pressed in pneumatic press and sometimes the press wine is reincorporated into the blend.
Most common varietal blend of Chateau Latour:
- 74.2% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 23.8 Merlot
- 1.8% Cabernet Franc
- 0.02% Petit Verdot
FOOD PAIRINGS: Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Also, these wines would be best with beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.
TASTING NOTES: With the hints of purple and red in the edge. Rather shy but classy nose with some (black) fruit and some vanilla tones. On the palate there is a good expression of the fruit combined with the power of a real Latour with the strong tannic structure that is the signature of the First Growth. A wine that will merit from 5-10 years of aging before showing its full potential.Find this wine online here.