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.
Excitement about the potential of the 2015 Bordeaux vintage – and wine made in several other parts of France last autumn – has been rising for months. In Bordeaux, but also in Burgundy, Champagne and the Rhône, conditions were close to ideal last summer.
Hours of sunshine and average temperatures were the highest since records began – even higher than in “mythical” wine-growing years such as 1921 and 1947. “We think we have something very special but we are holding our tongues until the tasting begins,” said a family member at one of the most sought-after châteaux in the Médoc growing region.
Denis Dubourdieu, professor of wine at the University of Bordeaux and one of the most successful Bordeaux winemakers, told The Independent: “I don’t think there can be any doubt. This will be an exceptional year, in line with memorable years like 2009 and 2005.
“Everything about the growing season last year was perfect. And from what I’ve seen at the wine-making stage and in the barrel later on, this is going to be a wonderful vintage.” Mr Dubourdieu says that producing wine is like a horse-race with five meteorological “fences”. In 2015, he says, Bordeaux jumped all the hurdles with ease.
The vines flowered early in warm sunshine; the tiny grapes appeared in perfect dry weather; they turned purple in ideal conditions of slight drought in mid-July; they expanded and ripened in a warm, dry August with just a little rain; and they were picked in a dry autumn with cool nights. This is like getting all the numbers right in the lottery.
There were excellent claret vintages in 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2010 and a reasonable year in 2012. In the past two years, to the annoyance of many people in the industry, Bordeaux has been criticised or faintly praised. There have also been complaints about the fact that the top châteaux kept their prices high, despite the apparent dip in quality.