The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.
This vintage has confirmed all of its potential. Very strongly coloured wine with aromas of cedar, spices and tobacco. On the palate, the wine has beautiful volume, abundant fruit and good tannic structure. Classic style and a beautiful expression of Cabernet Sauvignon
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.
After a cold, dry winter, March was warm and wet. Vine growth proceeded normally, including the flowering period with warm, sunny weather. July was cool and rainy, but fortunately magnificent weather arrived towards the end of the month and continued until 20 September, enabling the grapes to ripen correctly. The harvests began on 28 September and ended on 9 October in very rainy weather.
Bordeaux 1981 /The small but high quality vintage of 1981 was overshadowed by the superb 1982. Hot, dry weather began from flowering and continued until September, when occasional rains occurred until until the harvest is completed in good conditions at the beginning of October. Generally speaking, the reds produced were elegant, moderately light and delicate wines in all appellations. The dry whites were of average quality and Sauternes was actually better than the following year 1982. Although this year is often considered modest, some good wines emerged. These include Margaux and Cheval Blanc.
The Bordeaux 1981 wine vintage received mixed reviews from the wine press and critics. It was a year characterized by variable weather conditions and uneven ripening, leading to wines of varying quality across different appellations and producers.
Variable Quality: One of the prevailing themes in reviews of Bordeaux 1981 was the highly variable quality of the wines. Some estates and appellations managed to produce wines of charm and balance, while others struggled with underripe grapes and less favorable conditions.
Tannic Structure: Many Bordeaux 1981 wines were noted for their tannic structure. The tannins were sometimes described as firm or astringent, suggesting that some wines would require extended aging to soften and develop complexity.
Early Drinking: While some Bordeaux 1981 wines were considered suitable for aging, others were recommended for earlier consumption. Critics often pointed out that certain wines were more approachable and enjoyable in their youth, with fruit-forward profiles.
Elegance and Finesse: Despite the challenges of the vintage, some Bordeaux 1981 wines were praised for their elegance and finesse. These wines were often seen as examples of the winemaker's skill in a challenging year.
Right Bank vs. Left Bank: There were distinctions between the wines of the Right Bank (Saint-Émilion and Pomerol) and the Left Bank (Medoc, Pauillac, etc.). Generally, the Right Bank wines were regarded as having performed better in 1981, with more consistent ripeness and structure.
Notable Producers: Certain Bordeaux estates and producers were highlighted for their success in the vintage. These wines were often considered benchmarks for Bordeaux 1981.
Aging Potential: While some Bordeaux 1981 wines were viewed as having the potential to age gracefully and improve with time, others were seen as wines best consumed in their prime to capture their youthful fruitfulness.
Overall Assessment: The general consensus was that Bordeaux 1981 was not a standout vintage on par with some of the region's legendary years. However, it was also not a uniformly poor vintage; there were good wines to be found for those who selected carefully.