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On each of the previous occasions I have had this wine it has flirted with perfection.
This bottle was again a riveting, opulently-textured drinking experience. Its spectacularly perfumed bouquet consists of truffles, black tea, soy, minerals, and copious sweet prune, coffee-infused, black currant fruit. Sweet on the attack, with a rare opulence, a voluptuous texture, full body, terrific freshness, and a chewy, fleshy, succulent finish, this has always been great stuff. This bottle was no exception. It has been fully mature for 25-30 years, but well-stored or larger format bottlings will last another two decades.
Parker 98 points
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.
This was also a year of climatic accidents. An exceptional drought paralyzed the development of the grapes, drying out the lower leaves on the vine, leaving us with a very small crop. The grapes produced a kind of concentrated juice which simultaneously displayed very average degrees and a very intense taste. Highly colored wines from difficult vinification.
It may not have the unctuousness of 1945 but it has an exceptional bouquet and a rare intensity of taste. The wine has kept its class, elegance and a sweet concentration.
The moment for optimal drinking and best way of serving
The wine has now been at its optimum for some time, and should be drunk within the next 5 years.
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 1/2 hour for aeration and serve.
In Bordeaux, the decade culminated in the hot year of 1949, when Bordeaux was hit by an unprecedented period of drought. Cold, rainy weather had hampered germination, resulting in an exceptionally uneven distribution of pollen. This, in turn, led to a record harvest. With the arrival of summer, Bordeaux was subjected to a heatwave like it had never seen before. Temperatures of up to 43°C have been recorded in Médoc. Early September brought massive thunderstorms followed by a period of ideal weather, which lasted until harvest at the end of the month. The already small harvest was made even smaller, but it produced an incredibly juicy wine that was extremely delicious even at a young age. The wines themselves have more backbone and are more elegant than the 1947 vintage. Indeed, these lack the concentration found in the 1945. Mouton-Rothschild, however, is a capable challenger even of the best 1945 and 1947, with its ample body and balance. The dry white wines produced were also exceptional, although no longer very drinkable. Conversely, the Sauternes grapes picked at the end of a record dry October produced unique and noble wines.
Recommended glass shape
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