x
  • Country ranking ?

    16
  • Producer ranking ?

    1
  • Decanting time

    10h
  • When to drink

    now to 2035
  • Food Pairing

    casseroles of lamprey and of shad & Bordeaux style

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 50 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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People often ask me if and when to decant wine. / One reason to decant is to increase the oxygen contact with the wine. I personally find it more important to decant older wines than young ones, as this is needed to breathe life into a wine that has been imprisoned for decades. An older wine at first often has an off-putting musty smell that only disappears with time and air. I have on countless occasions experienced how a wine was written off as being well past it, sometimes having to stop my fellow drinkers from pouring the wine away, only to see it blossom in the glass with time and air, developing into a delicate beauty.

The timing depends very much on the wine in question - a vintage with a good structure will need longer than a lighter vintage, Bordeaux generally needs longer than a Burgundy. Powerful white wines like Chardonnays and Grüner Veltliner also benefit from decanting as does mature Rieslings. Also the very young Bordeaux, like this Latour from exceptiomal vintages, will benefit sometimes from very long decanting time, even 10 hours or more.

What I don't believe in is the habit of just opening the bottle to let the wine breathe - the air exchange taking place at the small surface is negible. The problem occurs if the cork crumbles and fall into the bottle, as this means that you will have to decant the wine earlier than you had really planned.

Another reason is to separate the wine from its depot.

This is usually done with Bordeaux but funnily enough rarely with Burgundy, which for me is a fallacy - depot will negatively affect a delicate wine more than a sturdier wine.

This reminds me of a funny story - as Sotheby's were to auction off large parts of the famous Thurn und Taxis estate in Germany a decade or so ago, there were also parts of the wine cellar to be auctioned off. As Serena Sutcliffe, the head of Sotheby's wine department, went to examine the cellars she found that all wooden wine cases had large circular holes in them. On asking why, she was told by the family butler that these were drilled in order for the wines to breathe.

J-E Paulson

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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

The autumn of 2009 was mild and wet whereas the first months of 2010 were particularly cold and dry. We then noted a delay in the budbreak which did not properly get going until April which was almost summery. Flowering was disrupted by rain and cool temperatures during the first half of June resulting in significant flower abortion and uneven grape size. We had to wait for the last ten days of June for temperatures to return to seasonal norms. Water stress began to develop at the end of June in some plots in the Enclos and increased in July. Generally, the vines stopped growing at the end of July.

Harvesting of the Merlot began on September 20th with the young vines, and the Cabernet Sauvignon on October 4th (after stopping for a few days between grape varieties).

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Vintage 2010

Drought and cool temperatures contribute to optimal ripeness

The sum of summer temperatures in 2010 was close to that of summer 2009 (962°C compared to 982°C), but decidedly chillier than those of 2005, which totalled 1052°C. These cool temperatures had a substantial influence on the balance of our wines, preserving a good level of acidity and attractive aromatic freshness. 

Very little rainfall (only 267 mm) from March to August 2010 generating a drought of similar intensity to that of 2005, when only 227mm of rain fell. 

Another feature of the 2010 vintage is the low temperatures above all in the first three weeks of August, which made for the preservation of good levels of acidity in the grapes while also maintaining attractive aromatic freshness.

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Average Bottle Price

2017 2016 2015 2014
1 165€ +5.9% 1 100€ +2.3% 1 075€ -20.1% 1 345€

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

35 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Ruby red

ending

Long, Extensive and Pure

flavors

Blackberry, Cigar-box, Tobacco, Truffles, Herbs and Buttery

nose

Intense and Seductive

taste

Balanced, Well-Integrated, Multi-dimensional, Youthful, Full-bodied, Harmonious, Fresh, Refined and Silky tannins

Verdict

Transparent and Outstanding

Written Notes

NB Latour reintroduced horses for ploughing in 2008 and began their move towards biodynamic viticulture in 2009.
Deep crimson looks only slightly more concentrated than Les Forts. So much more nuanced and intersting than Les Forts! Full of life and intrigue. It has such fruit concentration that you could, if you really wanted, almost drink it now with chewy food. This is really quite a triumph. Kerpow! But no specious sweetness. Most impressive.

  • 96p

An intense and beautifully bright colour. the nose is incredibly expressive, pure and aromatic. On the palate, the structure is extremely delicate, elegant with matured fruits flavours. Tannins are rich, noble and silky.

ensational depth of colour, incredible sweetness and ripeness of fruit, but very massive now, a monumental expression of the Latour vineyards.

  • 100p

Latour 2010 is completely shut down now and offering little. Velvety tannins with great density and power with little flavor or fruit expression. The length, texture and subtle layers provide some insight into what the wine will be capable of offering in 15 to 20 years. Persistent length.

  • 98p

Consistent notes. Incredibly sophisticated and refined wine, but not as concentrated as I've expected. However, there are plenty of things to be hugely exited over, for this wine offers myriad of nuances, velvety structure, immense depth and length. Sublime wine, which has several decades to reach apogee.

  • 99p
Deep ruby, deep feel to the nose, complex, refined, massive nose, superbly structured, massive and layered, fresh acidity, ripe tannins, very long length.
  • 97p
Good looking normal size bottle, in an excellent condition and has by the neck level. Colour is ruby red. On the nose it is intense, open and seductive. The taste is harmonious, refined, fresh, with silky tannins, full-bodied, with well-integrated, multi-dimensional, balanced structure and youthful. On the palate it is layered and has blackberry, cigar-box, buttery, dried-fruit, herbs, perfumed, spice, tobacco and truffles flavours. The finish is long, extensive, flavorful and pure. This wine is transparent, excellent and outstanding. Perfectly stored bottles are still very worthy and will last well for another 20-30 years and decant at least 2h before tasting.
- (Tasting note created by Tb's AI)
  • 98p
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Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Good

Investment potential

Excellent

Fake factory

There is a possibility

Glass time

2h

Drinking temperature

17

Inside Information

Parker 100 points : One of the perfect wines of the vintage, Frederic Engerer challenged me when I tasted the 2010 Latour at the estate, asking, “If you rate the 2009 one hundred, then how can this not be higher?” Well, the scoring system stops at 100, (and has for 34 years,) and will continue for as long as I continue to write about wine. Nevertheless, this blend of 90.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.5% Merlot, and .5% Petit Verdot hit 14.4% natural alcohol and represents a tiny 36% of their entire production. The pH is about 3.6, which is normal compared to the 3.8 pH of the 2009, that wine being slightly lower in alcohol, hence the combination that makes it more flamboyant and accessible. The 2010 is a liquid skyscraper in the mouth, building layers upon layers of extravagant, if not over-the-top richness with its hints of subtle charcoal, truffle, blackberry, cassis, espresso and notes of toast and graphite. Full-bodied, with wonderfully sweet tannin, it is a mind-boggling, prodigious achievement that should hit its prime in about 15 years, and last for 50 to 100. 

There is no denying the outrage and recriminations over the decision by the Pinault family and their administrator, Frederic Engerer, to pull Latour off the futures market next year. However, you can still buy these 2010s, although the first two wines are not likely to be released until they have more maturity, which makes sense from my perspective. Perhaps Latour may have offended a few loyal customers who were buying wines as futures, but they are trying to curtail all the interim speculation that occurs with great vintages of their wines (although only God knows what a great vintage of future Latour will bring at seven or eight years after the harvest). As a set of wines, the 2010s may be the Pinaults’ and Engerer’s greatest achievements to date. Of course, I suspect the other first-growth families won’t want to hear that, nor will most of the negociants in Bordeaux, but it’s just the way things are. Frederic Engerer, by no means the most modest of administrators at the first growths, thinks it would be virtually impossible to produce a wine better than this, and he may well be correct. If they gave out Academy Awards for great performances in wine, the Pinaults and Engerer would certainly fetch a few in 2010. P.S. Just so you don’t worry, Engerer offered up the 2009 next to the 2010 to see if I thought it was still a 100-point wine, and yes, ladies and gentlemen, it still is.

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