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Les Forts de Latour is the second wine of the infamous Chateau Latour ; a world renowned French wine estate, located in Pauillac, in the Medoc region of Bordeaux, France. Latour is in the north-west of Bordeaux, sharing a border with Saint-Julien, a stone’s throw away from the banks of the Gironde estuary.
Chateau Latours primary wine was rewarded the status of “first growth” in the 1855 Bordeaux Classification, due to its production of the highest quality wines throughout the years. Les Forts de Latour was labeled in 1966, and continues to maintain the strong brand image to this day.
Château Latour, Bordeaux, France
Located in the famous Medoc wine region, about 40 kilometers north-west of the city of Bordeaux, the vineyard of Château Latour belongs to the Pauillac appellation.The quality of its wine depends partly on the type of grape variety that is being used, but also on the exceptional combination of natural elements (geography, geology and climate) that constitutes its "Terroir".
It would appear that the domaine of Latour remained under joint ownership until the end of the sixteenth century, the co-proprietors receiving rent from their tenants who cultivated the land. By the end of the sixteenth century the proprietors had been reduced to a family called Mullet and if direct control was progressively replacing that of tenants and co-proprietors, the system of viticulture was to remain virtually the same until the end of the seventeenth century.
At the end of the 17th century, after a succesion of sales, inheritances and marriages, the Latour estate became the property of the Ségur family. It is in 1718 with the Marquis Nicolas-Alexandre de Ségur, that the Great History of the vineyard starts. Thanks to the marriage of Alexandre de Ségur with Marie-Thérèse de Clausel, "the Tower of Saint-Maubert" entered the Segur family and remained in their hands there for almost 300 years. Just before his death in 1716, Alexandre de Ségur bought Lafite.
Two years later, his son, Nicolas-Alexandre, (called "the Prince of Vines") increased the family holding with the acquisition of Mouton (Rothschild) and Calon (Ségur). Only the Margaux estate remained in the hands of the Aulède family.
But in 1755, the death of the Marquis Nicolas-Alexandre created substantial changes in the destiny of Latour : before his death, Lafite was given the most attention among his numerous estates. With the division of the Marquis' personal property, Latour finally received the necessary care and investment it required, and started to develop its full potential during the second half of that century.
At the beginning of the 18th century, Château Latour started to be highly recognized around the world, thanks to the reconquest of the British market and the development of the wine business in northern Europe. The aristocracy and other wealthy groups of consumers became very enthusiastic about a few great estates, of which Latour was one. And that was how Thomas Jefferson, Ambassador of the United States in France, and future President, discovered this wine in 1787. At that time, a cask of Château Latour was already worth twenty times as much as one of ordinary Bordeaux wine.
The reputation of Château Latour was consolidated during the 19th century. It was confirmed in 1855, when the government of Napoléon III decided to classify the estates of the Médoc and the Graves for the International Exhibition in Paris : Château Latour was classified as First Growth.
In 1963, the heirs of the Marquis de Ségur sold 75 % of the Château Latour shares. The new shareholders became "Harveys of Bristol" and "Hallminster Limited", both British Limited Companies. "Hallminster Limited" belonged to the PEARSON Group, and held more than 50 % of the shares of Château Latour. However the juridical structure was not changed : it kept the 120 year-old name of "Société Civile du Vignoble de Château Latour".
In July 1993, entrepreneur and businessman, Mr PINAULT finally brought Château Latour back into French hands after 30 years of British ownership.
Today the Estate consists of 78 hectares of vineyards. The 47 hectares which surround the Château, the heart of the estate, are called "l'Enclos". Only the grapes from these 47 ha make the "Grand Vin de Château Latour". The vines in this vineyard are very old, some of them being centenarian. This "Enclos" benefits from a very unique terroir that combines an optimized sub-soil nutrition for the vines, the Gironde river which tempers extreme weather conditions, and a typical Médoc climate, largely influenced by the Atlantic ocean, which allows the grapes to reach maturation under favourable conditions.
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BORDEAUX 2000 – A DREAM VINTAGE
Weather conditions / Vintage 2000 has from the very start been proclaimed as one of the best vintages of modern times. In spring 2003, I've had many opportunities to find out, if we really have a true dream vintage in our hands.
During harvest 2000, while doing "personal inspection" in the vineyards, I noticed that something extraordinary big was on its way. Grapes looked extremely healthy.
While sorting table was rolling, I observed, that there were few leaves, stalks and weeds among the grapes. That's why sorting out grapes went so easy and quick. It must be one of hallmarks of 2000 vintage, because normally even the great vintages require a lot of work at sorting table.
2000 vintage is classic, extravagant and extremely long-lived Bordeaux with dark, extremely dense wines, which have enormous concentration of fruit, length and superbly concentrated tannin. The tannin is not allowed to dominate, because it's well wrapped up by fruit. A scent of sub-maturity is only present in few wines. One of this vintage's trademarks is an intense and deep aroma of dark berries, like blueberries, blackberries and black cherries.
All red grape varieties reached perfect maturity, including Bordeaux' most capricious and unruly grape variety, Petit Verdot. Petit Verdot gives the much meeded contribution of backbone and power to the wines.
Also the grapes for whites, like Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle, did ripe perfectly and produced tremendously fine dry white wines. Sweet white wines turned unfortunately to be a few light, elegant and charming wines, which were based 100% on September pickings. Beginning on the 11th October, it rained heavily in Bordeaux and it continued until the end of the year.