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96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Dark garnet with an amber edge, the 1959 Latour reveals a touch of volatile acidity in the nose, along with aromas of melted caramel, tobacco, and jammy red and black fruits. As the wine sat in the glass, notes of minerals, coffee, spice, and underbrush emerged. There is still copious tannin in the finish (I am not sure it will ever be fully resolved), but this sumptuous, complex, fragrant, super-rich Latour cuts a broad swath across the palate. Fully mature, it is best consumed over the next decade.
98 points Vinous
The 1959 Latour is a magnificent wine though, I have never met a perfect bottle since January 2000 (a bottle so great I can still taste it now!) This is a great example. The bouquet is more approachable and has more charm than the 1961 with slightly redder fruit intermingling with sage, burning embers, roasted chestnut and just a hint of game. The palate is beautifully balanced with a velvety texture and perfectly judged acidity. It has retained incredible depth, maybe less sensual than a few years ago, but adorned with a sense of comeliness that is nigh irresistible. Tobacco, black truffle and smoke begin to make their presence felt on the finish that just goes on forever. Wonderful. Tasted at the International Business & Wine First Growth Dinner at the Four Seasons.
98 points Wine Spectator
Superb, but I have had an even better bottle of this wine; usually it's worth two points more. Equal in quality to the perfect 1961. Thick and rich, with berry, cherry and tobacco character, it shows layers of ripe fruit and velvety tannins that go on and on at the finish. Exciting wine.
Dark crimson/ruby. Almost as deep as the 1982. Deeper than the 1961. Very, very fresh, and yet full. Rather old-fashioned, but miraculously lively. Minerals. Wonderful, full, and fully mature impact on the palate. Slightly dry end. Wonderful wine. 20/20 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.
Warm and wet spring. Severe frosts on 22 April. Flowering started 25 May and finished on 14-20 June. Very fine, hot weather in July and August, if a little too dry. The grapes suffered and did not develop. September was hot and generally dry with the harvest on 21 September. Musts were rich, colored and promising. Tumultuous fermentation as it was very hot.
Vintage quality and tasting comments
First tasting : this could be a very great wine - the "rôti" of the 1949s, the fullness and fatness of the 1953s. Today (2000) it displays a fine color with no sign of fast ageing. The nose is very rich and complex with layers of ripe fruit, cedar and dark chocolate with mint. In the mouth, it is both very round and ripe but also very concentrated and full-bodied. A huge wine that really gives enormous pleasure.
The moment for optimal drinking and best way of serving
A wine at its optimum today, but can easily last another 10 or 15 years at this level.
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 and serve.
Bordeaux 1959 was proclaimed the wine year of the century by overzealous journalists. Even though it was an excellent year, it simply was not the best of the century. The year started off with ideal weather conditions. Summer was perfect all the way until the autumn, when the rains came in mid-September. But the rains made way for hot, dry weather, thus setting a magnificent stage for the start of the harvest. The result was a truly ripe and juicy crop. The reds are typically full-bodied, with soft acidity and a fat mouthfeel that comes from the high alcohol content. Even though the vintage is generally compared to 1961, it has much in common with the 1949. The Sauternes vintage was equally a success and the region produced some very long-lived wines. Once again the Château Lafite-Rothschild achieved complete success, sharing the title of best wine of the vintage with the Haut-Brion. Right on their heels is the Pétrus, which should be decanted for at least three hours before drinking, and the La-Mission-Haut-Brion.
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
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