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  • Country ranking ?

    1 230
  • Producer ranking ?

    72
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    now to 2025
  • Food Pairing

    Fennel-Scented Duck Breasts with Pinot Noir Sauce

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1988 is a classic great vintage, typical of the Médoc's ocean climate. The Grand Vin presents concentrated aromas of coffee, liquorice and truffle. The wines are full of fruit, very typical of Cabernet Sauvignon, both lively and full-bodied.

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The Story

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.

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Wine Information

A normal budbreak in early April and good flowering over a sunny period, alternating with a few thunderstorms, promised a bountiful good quality harvest. The summer was very dry and the grapes developed quickly. Some green harvests were done late July. Veraison began on 1 August. August and September were very sunny and seriously lacking in rain. Late September the grapes were very healthy and small, with concentrated juices, promising a great wine. The harvests began on 28 September in excellent conditions and continued until 10 October. The grapes were in perfect health and the musts were extraordinarily concentrated.

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Vintage 1988

The first in a trio of great vintages and one that has been rather overshadowed by the 89s and 90s.Definitely the most "classic" of the trio, with many of the wines not being overtly fruit-driven but having levels of extract and concentration that that make them perfect candidates for extended cellaring.

The first half of the year was unusually cold and wet and the vintage was saved by a long, dry, warm summer. Harvesting began in mid September and some of the Cabernets were not picked until the 3rd week of October. Most of the wines are now approaching their plateau of maturity with the pick of the bunch being the Cabernet-dominated Médocs and GravesPauillac was particularly successful.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

(Bottle directly from cellars of Latour, fill only 3mm below cork and cork absolutelly untouched by age) Bright ruby, some herbal notes of the vintage and paprika, lots of blackcurrants, leather, tobacco, refined and pure, extremelly complex. True thoroughbred. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, very good balance, texture like snow falling, led and pencil shave in beautifull finish. 93

  • 93p
Deep, Purple colour. Intense, ripe black fruit nose with ashes and black currants. Medium-bodied, silky tannins, vivid acidity low fruit intensity but elegant style. Long intense yetrestrained finish. Lackung fruit, but very focused savory palate. Decant for 2 hours. Ready but will improve in next 10-15 years.
  • 91p
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Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Average

Value For Money

Satisfactory

Investment potential

No Potential

Fake factory

None

Drinking temperature

16

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