Chateau Latour Releases 2007 Vintage / No longer releasing its wine as a future, this morning Latour have announced the ex-Chateaux release of the ‘underrated’ 2007 vintage. It is being offered by UK merchants @ £4,100.00 per 12 bottles & last month Neal Martin awarded the vintage 92 pts, indicating that it is ‘finally entering its drinking plateau’.
For Parker’s most recent critique we must to refer to his score of 92+pts in April 2010, declaring Latour as one of the ‘longest lived wines of the vintage’. As far as pricing goes, the ex-Chateaux release for the 2007 has broken the mould of 10-15% above the going market rate. This is encouraging!
Focusing on the ‘off-prime’ vintages we believe it would be more prudent to consider the 2008 vintage, which is also available at £4,100.00 per 12 (IB), rated at 96pts (LPB), 95+pts (RP and NM). 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2006 are at a similar price point and all carry a higher Wine Advocate score.For clients on the hunt for value, 2008 holds the lowest POP value with 2001 and 2004, a close second and third.
The chateau makes three different wines. The so-called grand vin, that is Château Latour itself, a second wine called Les Forts de Latour and a third wine simply called Pauillac. The grand vin comes from the original part of the vineyards, called the Enclos. This is the most prestigious part of the vineyard where the vines have a fine view of the Gironde estuary. The tradition in Bordeaux says that vines that overlook the water make the best wine. The proximity to the estuary actually gives a slightly higher temperature, helping the grapes to good maturity. The Enclos is around 45 hectares out of a total of 88 for the whole estate.
The grape varieties are 75 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 23 % Merlot, 1 % Cabernet Franc and 1 % of Petit Verdot. The planting density is high, 10,000 vines per hectare. Every year the chateau’s viticulturist replaces a certain number of dead vines. These young vines are marked and treated separately. They are harvested separately and they are not used in the grand vin until they are at least 10 years old.
The Enclos is under conversion to organic farming since 2015. It takes three years to be certified so it means that we will see the first organic Château Latour in 2018. Only copper and sulfur, mixed with different plant infusions, are used to fight diseases in the vineyard. Instead of insecticides they use sexual confusion. Only organic fertilizers are used when needed and no herbicides.
The barrel aging starts in December. Château Latour is put in 100 % new oak from the Allier and Nièvre forest in the central part of France. The chateau works with 11 different coopers. This is important to the winemaker as the coopers all have different styles.
The wine spends six months in the first year cellar where it will also undergo the malolactic fermentation. The barrels are tasted regularly and the winemaker decides the blend for the grand vin, the second wine and the third wine. He decides if the press wine should be included or not. The wine is then moved to the huge and magnificent second-year cellar where it will spend 10-13 months, so in total around 22 months of aging before it is bottled. 2014 was bottled in June this year. During the barrel aging the wine is racked and topped up regularly, every 3 months. At the end, the wine is fined traditionally with egg whites, 5-6 whites per barrel.
Château Latour is often a textbook example of a Cabernet Sauvignon. No wonder, as often almost 90 % of the wine is made from this grape. It is a powerful wine in its youth, with aromas of cedar wood and black fruit, made even more powerful with the aging in 100 % new oak barrels. It is packed with fruit and tannins and it stays young for at least 10 years. This is a wine you really should wait for, say 10-15 year or longer. It needs time to show what it is capable of.
The winter was generally mild until the end of January and then February was very wet. Particularly fine weather in April prompted rapid, intense growth. May was generally rainy and cold. The weather in June and July brought alternating periods of humidity, rain and heat, which resulted in the development of mildew. Rainfall in August was twice the average. Fortunately, September was dry and sunny with warm temperatures during the day and very cold nights. Overall, the 2007 harvests took place in good weather. Botrytis was visible but was completely eliminated by sorting in the vineyard. The Merlot was harvested between 21 September and 2 October, and the Cabernet Sauvignon between 4 and 15 October.