The 47 hectares which surround the Château, the heart of the estate, are called "l'Enclos". Only the grapes from these 47 ha make the "Grand Vin de Château Latour". The vines in this vineyard are very old, some of them being centenarian. This "Enclos" benefits from a very unique terroir that combines an optimized sub-soil nutrition for the vines, the Gironde river which tempers extreme weather conditions, and a typical Médoc climate, largely influenced by the Atlantic ocean, which allows the grapes to reach maturation under favourable conditions.
The weather conditions
After a fairly mild winter, growth started towards the end of March, but the vegetation was immediately and adversely affected by frosts at the beginning of April. Early spring was cold with growth retarded. Full flowering was on 15 June during a hot spell with only a few storms. July was fine and very hot, and the grapes started to ripen on the 25th, but only slowly due to the dry weather. August was moderate, neither hot nor cold, nor wet. September was both warmer and wetter and regularised the ripening of the grapes. From the 16th it was very hot which completed the ripening. The vintage began on the 28th in normal weather for the season : temperate with some night showers. It ended on 17 October. The grapes were of extraordinary quality, very ripe and very abundant. The musts produced were of normal sugar and acidity levels with a lovely color.
Vintage quality and tasting comments
The new wine was highly-colored and rich, it had plenty of fruit and was rich in tannin. Today the wine is a real "blockbuster" : The bouquet has layers of the typical cedar-dark chocolate-spices Latour nose of ripe years. The mouth is massive, very well-balanced, with very concentrated, ripe and rich tannins leaving a fresh finish. A classic Latour.
Quality: Great year
The moment for optimal drinking and best way of serving
The Grand Vin is still a little young and should remain in cellars at least another 5 years to reach its optimum, and will last another 20 to 25 years.
Les Forts de Latour is at its optimum today (2000) and will start to decline slowly.
For service, keep the bottle vertical at least half a day to settle the sediments at the bottom of the bottle. Then slowly pour the wine into a decanter in order to get rid of these sediments, keep in the decanter for at least 1 hour for aeration (for the Forts de Latour 1/2 hour is enough) and serve.
The tower of Saint-Lambert was probably built during the latter half of the 14th century. Indeed, on 18th October 1331, PONS, Seigneur of Castillon, allowed Gaucelme de CASTILLON, member of one of the richest Médoc families, to build a fortress in Saint-Lambert.
In 1378, Château Latour " en Saint-Maubert ", called later Château La Tour and then Château Latour, entered the annals of history.We are at that time in the midst of the one hundred years war and the Tower of Saint-Mambert, a fortified post guarding the estuary, is being held by Breton soldiers employed by the King of France. After a siege lasting three days, the Anglo-Gascon army seized the fort and installed a garnison. Latour stayed under British domination, until the capitulation's treaty, just after the Battle of Castillon, on 17th July 1453.
The history of the Saint-Maubert Tower is now a mystery because it doesn't exist anymore... Nowhere, on the 1759 cadastre in Château Latour, do we have the sign of a building that looks like a tower. The fortress, in the 14th century, was based at about 300 meters from the river.
We can only assume that the tower stood on the south-east side of the vineyard, near the Juillac river. The old tower was probably not round, but square. If we refer to the time of its construction, we can imagine it was a quadrangular building, with at least two floors.The existing tower, which has nothing to do with the original one, did not give its name to the vineyard. This tower is indeed a pigeon house, probably built with the stones of the old Château between 1620 and 1630...
It would appear that the domaine of Latour remained under joint ownership until the end of the sixteenth century, the co-proprietors receiving rent from their tenants who cultivated the land. By the end of the sixteenth century the proprietors had been reduced to a family called Mullet and if direct control was progressively replacing that of tenants and co-proprietors, the system of viticulture was to remain virtually the same until the end of the seventeenth century.
At the end of the 17th century, after a succesion of sales, inheritances and marriages, the Latour estate became the property of the Ségur family. It is in 1718 with the Marquis Nicolas-Alexandre de Ségur, that the Great History of the vineyard starts. He was the son of Alexandre de Ségur de Francs and Marie-Thérèse de Clausel, daughter of Joseph de Clausel, the latter being the second husband of Marguerite Coutaut, owner of Château Latour until 1695.
Thanks to the marriage of Alexandre de Ségur with Marie-Thérèse de Clausel, "the Tower of Saint-Maubert" entered the Segur family and remained in their hands there for almost 300 years.
Just before his death in 1716, Alexandre de Ségur bought Lafite. Two years later, his son, Nicolas-Alexandre, (called "the Prince of Vines") increased the family holding with the acquisition of Mouton (Rothschild) and Calon (Ségur). Only the Margaux estate remained in the hands of the Aulède family.
During the first half of the 18 th century, the land of Latour was run in accordance with the possibilities given by the other vineyards of the de Ségur.
But in 1755, the death of the Marquis Nicolas-Alexandre created substantial changes in the destiny of Latour : before his death, Lafite was given the most attention among his numerous estates. With the division of the Marquis' personal property, Latour finally received the necessary care and investment it required, and started to develop its full potential during the second half of that century.
Because the heirs of the Marquis didn't live in Bordeaux, the administration was necessarily done by a "régisseur" (General Manager) , who had to produce detailed reports on the estate activity.
This organization involved complete administration maintenance, culture expenses, and correspondance between the several managers and the owners. This considerable data is a very precious source of information today which helps us to understand the life of the estate during the last 250 years.
At the beginning of the 18th century, Château Latour started to be highly recognized around the world, thanks to the reconquest of the British market and the development of the wine business in northern Europe. The aristocracy and other wealthy groups of consumers became very enthusiastic about a few great estates, of which Latour was one. And that was how Thomas Jefferson, Ambassador of the United States in France, and future President, discovered this wine in 1787. At that time, a cask of Château Latour was already worth twenty times as much as one of ordinary Bordeaux wine.
The reputation of Château Latour was consolidated during the 19th century. It was confirmed in 1855, when the government of Napoléon III decided to classify the estates of the Médoc and the Graves for the International Exhibition in Paris : Château Latour was classified as First Growth.
The commercial and economic development in Europe, at the end of the 19th century, and stonger relations with the Bordeaux Wine Trade, created new customers, increasingly interested in good wine, and appreciative of their quality.
The existing Château was built during this "golden age", between 1862 and 1864.
In 1963, the heirs of the Marquis de Ségur sold 75 % of the Château Latour shares. The new shareholders became "Harveys of Bristol" and "Hallminster Limited", both British Limited Companies. "Hallminster Limited" belonged to the PEARSON Group, and held more than 50 % of the shares of Château Latour.
However the juridical structure was not changed : it kept the 120 year-old name of "Société Civile du Vignoble de Château Latour".
At the time of the purchase, it was clear to everyone that the property would have to undergo major renovations, both in the vineyard and in the cellars :
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
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