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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.
A mild, wet winter resulted in a fairly early budbreak at Latour, on 23 March for the Merlot and 2 April for the Cabernet Sauvignon. After three weeks of cool weather in early May, a warm period from the 23rd caused an "explosion" in growth. Flowering began on 28 May. Some flower abortion was noted in the older Merlot vines in the Enclos. June and July were hot and humid. Thunderstorms continued in August, but Latour was spared, receiving only 67 mm of rain. There was a period of fine weather in late August with three hot, dry weeks; easterly winds had a concentrating effect on the grapes, and cool nights enabled gradual ripening in typical ocean climate conditions. The harvests were slightly disrupted by several storms and took place from 17 September to 2 October. The grapes were perfect, very ripe and perfectly balanced, comparable to 1990.
Bordeaux / An excellent year for both sides of the Gironde and just the vintage that Bordeaux needed after the rain affected vintages of the previous 4 years. A mild winter and early spring was followed by a dry, hot summer. It did rain in early September but the rain was less than in the previous 4 vintages and, crucially, there was perfect weather from September 20th through to October.
Quality is high across all levels and appellations, with the Merlot-dominated wines of St-Emilion andPomerol being particularly successful. The best wines are very ripe and display good concentration and structure.
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
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