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The growing cycle started early (beginning of March) but was then delayed by a cold spell until 25 March; a beautiful end of April enabled the vines to catch up again. It was recorded that the vines at Latour were in full bloom on 15 June and flowering proceeded in excellent conditions. Fine weather came in early July and continued until mid-September. Rather than compromising quality, the heavy rain from 12 to 17 September enabled the bunches to develop. The harvests took place from 25 September to 10 October. Despite a few night-time showers, the weather remained warm and the harvest was perfectly healthy with very high quality grapes and the hope of a great vintage.
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.
Bordeaux: After four miserable vintages came the hot vintage of 1975 which put Bordeaux wines briefly into the limelight once again. The unsettled temperature in September turned into good weather for the harvest. Grapes were high in sugar content, but for many reds especially Cabernet Sauvignon based ones were lacking of phenolic ripeness. This yielded masculine and even aggressive reds with austere and even hard tannins.
Graves and Pomerol wines have proved to be the most delicious from this year. La Mission Haut-Brion and Lafleur-Pétrus stand out as the best ones, with Trotanoy just after them.Pétrus has proven to be the very exceptional with more aggressive and full-bodied style than usually. The Lafite-Rothschild at the reasonable price of 300 euro is the first seventies Lafite that gives a promise of improvement. On the other hand Haut-Brion considered very good has proven to be a slight disappointment.
For dry whites this was outstanding and Sauternes an excellent vintage. The best Sauternes experiences have been Yquem, Coutet, Gilette and Suduiraut.
Bordeaux: After four miserable vintages came the hot vintage of 1975 which briefly put Bordeaux wines in the spotlight once again. The unstable temperature of September turned into good weather for the harvest. The grapes were high in sugar, but many reds, especially those made from Cabernet Sauvignon, lacked phenolic ripeness. This resulted in masculine and even aggressive reds with austere and even harsh tannins.
Wines from Graves and Pomerol turned out to be the most delicious this year. La Mission Haut-Brion and Lafleur-Pétrus stand out as the best, with Trotanoy right after them. Pétrus turned out to be very exceptional with a more aggressive and full-bodied style than usual. The Lafite-Rothschild at the reasonable price of 300 euros is the first Lafite seventies which gives a promise of improvement. On the other hand, Haut-Brion, considered very good, turned out to be a slight disappointment.
For dry whites, it was exceptional and Sauternes was an excellent vintage. The best Sauternes experiences were Yquem, Coutet, Gilette and Suduiraut.
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