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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 weather conditions
Signs of growth first appeared on 5 April but the development of vegetation was slow until the end of the month. It speeded up in May and flowering started on the 29th. The beginning of June was hot and stormy with heavy rains. The weather remained hot with occasional rainstorms. July was hot and dry, as was August. Harvest prospects were excellent. The weather in September was variable but did not impede the ripening of the grapes ; and harvesting began on 25 September under a fine weather and ended 8 October. It rained almost continuously from 7-17 October. Under these conditions, the quality of the wines largely depended upon the date of the harvest. Latour was fortunate.
Vintage quality and tasting comments
Highly-colored, very strong and with a very spicy bouquet ; rich and "rôti "on the palate. Today (2000) the 1964 is probably one of the best example of a mature and ready to drink Château Latour. The bouquet shows layers of cigar, coffee, cedar, wax and spices. The mouth is extremely round and sweet, very nicely balanced . Not an " enormous " wine, but truly interesting and enjoyable.
Quality: Good year
The moment for optimal drinking and best way of serving
The wine is now at its optimum and should be drunk within the next 10-15 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.
Pour beaucoup, le millésime 1964 évoque des images d’une année vraiment unique. C’était cela en Bourgogne, mais pas à Bordeaux, même si le ministre français de l’Agriculture a déclaré que c’était le millésime du siècle à Bordeaux. Il a fait sa déclaration avant que les pluies d’automne ne commencent à tomber. Le millésime a été, en tout cas, très bon, rappelant assez celui de 1962, dont les grandes récoltes produisaient d’excellents vins.
L’hiver doux et humide a été suivi d’un printemps chaud. Les conditions idéales pendant la période de germination sont restées sèches et chaudes tout au long de l’été. Les raisins ont mûri magnifiquement jusqu’au 8 octobre, date à laquelle trois semaines de pluies extrêmement fortes ont pénétré dans Bordeaux, causant les plus grands dégâts dans le Médoc, principalement à Pauillac et Saint-Estèphe. Certains producteurs de la région avaient réussi à ramener toute leur récolte avant les pluies. L’un de ces chanceux était Château Latour. L’un des moins chanceux fut le Château Lynch-Bages, qui finit par récolter le 24 octobre. Ce millésime privilégie cependant les vins de Merlot de la rive droite, qui mûrissent bien avant les pluies. Il y a très peu de vins buvables à l’heure actuelle. Une fois de plus, le Cheval Blanc et le Pétrus s’élèvent au-dessus de l’autre, également en prix. Un développement intéressant en 1964 a été l’acquisition par Mouiex des actions de Pétrus.