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  • Country ranking ?

    561
  • Producer ranking ?

    26
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    Small crushed potatoes & oil of white truffles and fresh truffles

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.

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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 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.

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Vintage 1996

The 1996s stand as a “classic” Bordeaux year, although – as Jancis Robinson MW has written – not in the “skinny” sense; although Farr Vintners’ director, Tom Hudson, told the drinks business that it was perhaps a “very good” rather than a “truly great” year as it wasn’t uniformly excellent across the region.

By way of a recap, 1996 was a particularly sterling vintage for Médoc wines. The Berry Bros & Rudd website extolls: “This is one of the great post-war vintages for Médoc Cabernet-based wines. They are rich, complex and beautifully balanced wines, packed with ripe, pure fruit and have the structure that will allow the top wines to age well into the next decade and beyond.”

The Right Bank by contrast are described as “distinguished” but “overshadowed” by the ‘95s – which was an especially good vintage for Saint Emilion and Pomerol.

It was also an excellent vintage for white Bordeaux.

Robert Parker’s scores tend to favour the Left Bank, though a few of the very best wines of the Right Bank received very respectable reviews as well.

Only two wines received 100-points: Lafite and Latour, Margaux was rated 99, Léoville Las Cases 98, Ducru Beaucaillou 96 and Pichon-Comtesse 96.

La Mondotte was the highest rated Right Bank wine on 97-points, Ausone was the next best rated on 93 as was L’Eglise Clinet, while Gomerie, Petrus and Le Pin settled for 92 and Cheval Blanc for 90.

With the passage of nearly 20 years, the wines have naturally appreciated and now that they are well into their drinking window demand will almost certainly begin to push prices up even further for the most in-demand among them.

The figures are often impressive, to date Lafite has seen a rise of 657.9% since its release, its second wine Carruades is up 592%, Latour has risen 437%, Petrus 400% and Pichon Baron 240%.

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Average Bottle Price

2022 2020 2018 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2005
785€ +9.8% 715€ +8.3% 660€ +5.1% 628€ +2.6% 612€ -7.1% 659€ -17.6% 800€ +9.3% 732€ -16.4% 876€ -1.6% 890€ +223.6% 275€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

22 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep, Ruby red and Healthy

ending

Medium, Gentle and Extensive

flavors

Cranberry and Blackcurrant

nose

Youthful, Pure, Opulent and Generous

taste

Average in Acidity, Warming, Balanced, Complex, Good texture, Youthful, Full-bodied, Firm, Focused and Vigor

Verdict

Transparent and Well-rounded

Written Notes

The 1996 Latour had a much deeper nose than either of the Haut Brions, brooding but also a bit horsey at first. There were pencil and black fruits behind that and a touch of toll house. The palate was big yet refined, with laser-like acidity yet still full of finesse. There were nice chalky flavors on its finish, along with animal and tobacco flavors. Someone with their Palm Parker out hailed it as ‘near-perfect’ lol. It got szechuany in the nose, losing its animal and green edges to become just what Goldilocks ordered (96+).
  • 96p

Latour 1996 was similar to Pichon Comtesse 1996 (both appeared on the same flight) but tasted more refined. Great style and sophisticated touch here as well. 95p.

  • 95p

Pure, unadulterated Cabernet, with blackberry, black currant and fig fruit seamlessly held together by mouthwatering acidity, fine-grained grip and backed by a long, smoldering finish of tobacco and iron. Dense but rounded, with the length to last a decade or more in the cellar.

  • 96p

A legendary vintage, though still incredibly young. Powerful, and built to age, this will be a treasure in any collector's cellar.

  • 94p

The bouquet has a hint of menthol, along with dark fruit, then some blueberries emerge. This is a more angular wine, with some herbaceous notes as it opens before the licorice and flowers take over. You have a touch of olive and oregano at the mid palate, some cedar and then red berries. There is a nice backbone to the wine, very well integrated oak. The tannins are fairly light and supple, tart red berries and some pepper emerge next. This is somewhat more linear as it composes itself on the finish, with some tobacco notes also becoming evident, a nice thread of acidity, elegant if not as memorable as other vintages. 93 Points

  • 93p
Served blind. Ruby, garnet rim. Tobacco, cedar, cassis, some figs, lightly floral, anise and leather nose, detailed and elegant. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, fruity if leaner, detailed, elegant, cassis and anise, detailed, elegant, lively, rounded, lovely details and lovely balance, beautiful wine, long and graceful. 95
  • 95p
Nose wonderful, complex and open, developed yet youthful, mature damp earth and charcoal hints, dark blackcurrant fruit, cedar wood with cranberry and ripe black cherry, very complex and deep, just starting to open up. Excellent.
  • 96p
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Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Value For Money

Good

Investment potential

Very Good

Fake factory

Be Cautious

Glass time

1h

Drinking temperature

18

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