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Proprietor Francois Pinault and his director, Frederic Engerer, have pulled out all the stops to produce one of the most monumental Latour’s ever made.
Parker 100 points / A blend of 91.3% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8.7% Merlot with just under 14% natural alcohol, the 2009 Latour is basically a clone of the super 2003, only more structured and potentially more massive and long lived. An elixir of momentous proportions, it boasts a dense purple color as well as an extraordinarily flamboyant bouquet of black fruits, graphite, crushed rocks, subtle oak and a notion of wet steel. It hits the palate with a thundering concoction of thick, juicy blue and black fruits, lead pencil shavings and a chalky minerality. Full-bodied, but very fresh with a finish that lasts over a minute, this is one of the most remarkable young wines I have ever tasted. Will it last one-hundred years? No doubt about it. Can it be drunk in a decade? For sure.
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.
Many have called this the best vineyard in the world and the dynamic Director of Chateau Latour, Frédéric Engerer, is determined to make the greatest wine possible. He has the confidence of owner, François Pinault, to do all that it takes to achieve this aim. Production levels have been slashed in recent vintages with only the best parcels of vines now producing grapes for the Grand Vin. Latour has always had a fantastic terroir and now has a wine-making team working with state-of-the-art modern equipment under inspired leadership. In the last 10 years Latour has made the wine of the vintage more times than any other Chateau. The 2009 is made from a whopping 91.3% Cabernet Sauvignon with the rest Merlot. The grand vin represents only 38.3% of the total production with less than 10,000 cases produced. Big and black of course, with a classic nose of cassis fruit and some spicy oak. On the palate there is dense black fruit - cassis and cherry - but there is also very much a sense of elegance and class, not just raw power. Long, supremely classy and it builds in the mouth. Significant tannins at the finish. Serous and stunning. Monsieur Engerer says its like the 2000 but with more power, like the 2005 but thicker, as if it had a dash of 2003 in it. Really impressive. Wow!
|Score: 20||Farr Vintners, April 2010|
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
|965€ +5.8%||912€ +13.0%||807€ -17.5%||978€ -2.8%||1 006€ -15.4%||1 189€ -18.3%||1 455€|