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The history of Ch. Latour dates back at least to the 14th century, even though the vineyards for which it is now world-renowned were not fully established until the 17th century. The estate is located at the southern edge of Pauillac, bordering the St. Julien vineyards of Ch. Léoville Las Cases, and covers 78 hectares. After a period when it was under English ownership, in the form of the Pearson Group, owners of the Financial Times, and Harvey’s of Bristol, the property passed to Allied Lyons in 1989 and was then bought in 1993 by the French billionaire industrialist François Pinault, whose empire was to grow to include Yves St. Laurent, Gucci and Christie’s Auction House. Pinault has delegated day-to-day control of the estate and its wines to his dynamic Président, Frédéric Engerer, under whose stewardship a major programme of investment has taken place which has seen Latour rise to an undisputed pre-eminent position in the Bordeaux wine hierarchy. Engerer produces 3 wines: the Grand Vin, which always comes from the vines immediately surrounding the château, known as L’Enclos; Les Forts de Latour, the second wine, created in 1966, and now regarded as a great wine in its own right, certainly worthy of Classified Growth status; and finally a third wine, simply called Pauillac de Latour, usually the product of young vines. The second wine, Les Forts de Latour, always comes from a distinct location, rather than simply being the vats rejected as not quite worthy of inclusion in Latour itself, so it has its own distinct identity. In terms of volumes, on average there are about 16-20,000 cases of Latour made each year, 10-12,000 cases of Les Forts de Latour, and a variable quantity of the generic Pauillac. As one would expect in Pauillac the Cabernet Sauvignon dominates, accounting for 80% of the vineyard, with Merlot (18%) and Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot comprising the remaining 2%. Vinification is rigorously controlled, with severe selection of only the healthiest fruit, total de-stemming, and separate tanks for each parcel of vines. A three-week long maceration is followed by malolactic fermentation in vats before the wine chosen to become Ch. Latour is run off into barrels, 100% new, for ageing. The wine destined to become Les Forts de Latour is aged in 50% new oak and 50% one-year-old barrels. In style the wine is powerful, structured and compelling, and has been for many the most consistent performer amongst the First Growth Wines over the past century, acquiring an enviable reputation for producing very good wine in the more challenging vintages. It has great potential to age, with the best vintages lasting a century or more.
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The third wine of the prestigious Château Latour, Pauillac de Latour is made from a selection of wine from young vines and vats that do not meet the very strict criteria for the Château’s top wines. Knowing the zeal with which the estate selects their grapes, the quality of the wine is still of the highest order, and Pauillac de Latour represents great value for money. Bordeaux’s Château Latour needs little introduction and remains one of the pinnacles of the fine wine world. Classified as a Premiere Cru in the 1855 Classification, the Chateau is currently owned by French Industrialist François Pinault and managed by director Frédéric Engerer, under whom the Chateau has kept its preeminent position in the Bordeaux hierarchy. Three wines are made at the estate: the Grand Vin, Les Forts de Latour and Pauillac de Latour. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the blend of all of the wines, accounting for around 80% of the 78 hectares under vine. We are pleased to be able to offer an ex-chateau release of the 2008 Pauillac de Latour, available for UK customers only. Already a pleasure to drink now, this wine will benefit from extended cellaring and is a brilliant price in comparison with its cousin, Les Forts de Latour.
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Bottle 12 x 75cl
Up there with, and surpassing many Second Growths, and even a couple of Firsts, Les Forts is a truly fabulous wine. Silky, super fine tannins cover a dense, sweet core of vibrant, racy and ripe fruit. It is a fabulous wine this year, only a tiny way behind the stunning 2009 and 2010. Hopefully, restrained pricing on this might bring it down enough for us mere mortals to be able to try. Simon Staples, Berrys’ Fine Wine Director
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Bottle 6 x 75cl
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Magnum 3 x 150cl
H/Bottle 12 x 37.5cl
We had been a bit disappointed with the quality of the Second wines in 2006 until we tasted this astonishingly good Forts de Latour. We scored this wine better than the two Pichons, which were themselves two of the best Second Growths in 2006. This has outstanding balance and pedigree from the dense, dark, aromatic nose to the very long, pure finish. The wine reflects the elegance of 2006 with lifted, cool black fruit on the palate, a great structure and savoury tannins.
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In 2007 Les Forts de Latour has produced a wine that is comfortably of Second Growth quality. It is an elegant, feminine Les Forts rather than a tannic beast, perfectly harnessing the finest aspects of the vintage. The nose is brooding and serious, while on the palate the wine explodes with sweet mouthfilling cassis and cool precise blackberries with licorice and coffee hints. Made from 59% Cabernet Sauvignon and 41% Merlot this is creamy and refined with very supple tannins. It may not reach the dizzy heights of the 2005 but in the context of the vintage it is excellent.
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D. Magnum 1 x 300cl
Latour is a model for consistancy and excellence in even the poorest of vintages. In a superb year like 1996 the results are heavenly! This is a textbook Latour, massively concentrated, rich, with polished tannins and full bodied without being heavy. The extraordinary power and balance of this wine is phenomenal. It should continue to evolve to 2030.
Initially I had my reservations about this controversial wine. Question marks have hovered above the vintage across Bordeaux since release, many Chateaux claiming their 2003s are great but atypical. Let me set the record straight, this 2003 Ch. Latour is more than great, and quintessential Latour. The nose is rich and pure Pauillac. In the mouth the ripeness really shines through. The wine builds and builds, the volume of flavour is outstanding but all kept in check by a beautiful structure. The wine is complete and now beautifully integrated with an endless finish. Of course, this icon will age almost indefinitely but has the balance to give some much pleasure now. If you love Latour, your cellar is not complete without this. Gareth Birchley – Fine Wine Buyer (Asia)
D. Magnum 3 x 300cl
Latours 2002 reinforces its reputation as an iron fist in a velvet glove of a wine. A dense brooding cassis and pain-grill nose introduces a very big wine with fantastic mouth-watering flavours and a long sleek finish. The 2002 has a litheness of sweet fruit and structured tannins that differentiates it from recent vintages.
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Case saving £424.44
Magnum 6 x 150cl
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Ch. Latour 2006 is the wine of the vintage. The pure, dark chocolate and cassis nose is followed by a palate of enormous intensity with lashings of cool blackberries and cream, minerals, cedar and coffee. The length of the finish is astonishing too - as if the wine is still in your mouth. Engerer says he did not aim for power in 2006 but a classical richness and lively minerality - the result is similar in style to the 'intellectual' 2005 'at the crossroads of elegance and refinement and power and richness'. He's right; it's very nearly as good too.
Imperial 1 x 600cl
Whilst Latour’s decision to move away from the En Primeur system has definite ramifications for Bordeaux’s La Place, it makes tasting their latest releases very pleasurable indeed given they’ve had time to mature in bottle. The 2008 Forts de Latour has a very elegant nose with notes of violets, red berry fruit, freshly turned earth, black pepper and sweet vanilla pod. The palate is energetic and vivacious with good acidity and weight of fruit – sprightly even. The finish is long and integrated with mouth-coating tannins and a savoury meatiness which denotes its class. This is drinking nicely now, however another few years of bottle-age will see the fruit move further to the fore, the tannins soften even more and the overall elegance enhance. Nick Stewart, Private Account Manager With gorgeous, concentrated dark fruit, intriguing spice and fine, silky tannins the Forts de Latour is a force to be reckoned with in 2008. The Grand Vin was our favourite wine of the vintage and to be honest their Second Wine isnt far behind. The tannins are luxuriously coated in rich, ripe blackcurrant fruit which makes them roll across the palate so incredibly smoothly but a crunchy minerality adds the classic, linear backbone of Pauillac. This reminded us of the 2004 but has a freshness that bodes well for long ageing potential. Remarkable. Simon Staples, Wine Director Asia
The finest wine of the Vintage in our opinion. Intense concentration with the highest proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon ever. 94%. Amazing depth and purity with layers of complexity that are beguiling. It has a finish that lasts a few minutes and leaves you with a feeling of elation. Totally seamless with an amazing future ahead. There are only a very few of the 2008s that get close to their awe-inspiring 2005s. This is the closest.
Red wine of the vintage yet again for me, just pipping a Majestic Mouton, and the two may well bump shoulders again over the next 40 years or so. Once again this is quite magical. Heavenly aromas of sweet black cherry and blackberry, with a mere waft of creamy vanilla. Fabulous dense and rich with a huge mouth feel to it. Taut and firm but also sexy and alluring. This is profound and I think rivals some of the modern greats of Latour. Not perhaps the 2009 or 2010 but I think it’s up there with 2005 and 2002. If only we could buy enough and that I could afford it. Hey ho, at least I got to try it. Fabulous. Simon Staples, Berrys’ Fine Wine Director
Depth twinned with precision; very attractive dark fruit, lush but fresh. There’s a wonderful flow and balance here, no rough edges at all. Plenty of energy throughout and a soft, silky mouth feel. Classy, elegant Pauillac and very much ready to go now. (Martyn Rolph, Private Account Manager)
Ch. Latour has now released the final stock of its excellent second wine, Les Forts de Latour from the legendary 2005 vintage. This is the last opportunity to purchase this wine on release from the château.
Five minutes after you had swallowed this wine you could still taste it in its entirety. Even by Latour's lofty standards this is remarkable. This is a huge, dense closed wine packed full of cassis, cream and minerals of awesome intensity. As you might expect, the tannins here are phenomenally rich and ripe It surely has a long and glorious future ahead of it, with no sharp edges and a wonderful grace and balance. This will be one of the all time great Latours.
This sensational Latour left us totally speechless when we tasted it - a monumental task indeed when Berrys' Sales Director Simon Staples is present. The 2004 has the highest ever percentage of Cabernet (90%) in the final blend - usually it's around 80% - and is one which Director Frédéric Engerer likens to their astonishing 1996. The nose is dense and intense with deep black fruits yet without clumsiness or over extraction - just defined, cool and precise. The palate is powerful and majestic with its sweet raspberries and licorice following through to an indecently long finish. This Latour has great structure, great precision and is a great wine.
Very deep colour, deep red right to the rim, this has the typical, full-bodied Latour nose of black fruits, graphite and tobacco leaf. There is a huge presence in the mouth, resounding over the palate, growing in complexity with each new taste. Very, very long on the finish, with pronounced acidity, there is still evidence of tannins, but these are ripe, mature tannins, with no hint of astringency. Beautifully balanced, and set for at least another two or three decades of vigorous life, this may not yet be at its peak but would be delicious if given plenty of time in a decanter.
We are delighted to be able to offer the outstanding 1996 Les Forts de Latour as a rare ex-château release. This is a magnificent wine in its own right and is by no means overshadowed by its big brother. It is ready to drink (with a little patience, or an hour of decanting) and will drink brilliantly over the next 10 years and is a relative bargain given its outstanding quality.
Imperious. Flawless. Delectable. It is almost an insult to call this a ‘Second Wine’. So much care, love and attention has gone into this that it is as magnificent as many of the Super Second growths, better in a few cases. A reflection of the Grand Vin, not a copy or an impression, the 2010 Les Forts de Latour is truly a brilliant wine and something you might be able to stretch to if you want to spoil yourself. It is going to need a bit of time but the wait will be worth it as it rivals the 2009 and 2005. Seamless. (72.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22.5% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot. 14.3% abv) Simon Staples, Fine Wine Director
After last year’s utter show-stopper I wasn’t really looking forward to tasting this year’s offering, truth be told. How could it leave me totally speechless ? How could it be flawless? I should have had more faith! A hushed awe fell over our merry band of tasters as this legend drew us into its profound depths. Such power, but with such incredible precision and intensity – any form or combination of descriptive words just doesn't do it justice. It had the same effect on us as last year but very different in way. Last year the generous, voluptuous, seductive puppy fat of the vintage lay majestically over the fine tannins and elegant structure of the wine. This year the incredibly fine tannins encapsulate the rich, ripe, round and dense perfect core and a finish that's almost never ending. A sensational double triumph, it’s up there with Ch. Margaux as the wine of this incredible vintage. (90.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc, 0.5% Petit Verdot. ) Simon Staples, BBR Fine Wine Director
Only 14,000 cases of Latour were made in 2000 but what it lacks in quantity it gains in quality. This is a giant of a wine with a flavour spectrum of cassis, vanilla, terroir and woodland. This will provide you with the very finest drinking.
Abundant dried fruit with an underlying smoky complexity. Quite forward, especially for Latour, but nevertheless it will make for high quality drinking over the next 10-20 years.
Beautifully vibrant redcurrant colour states its pedigree before you even lift the glass to your nose. Beguiling, racy, creamy and has the house style tattooed beautifully through its core like a stick of rock. You could drink it now but I would urge you to hold out a year or so to enjoy it at its peak. It Pauilliac. Its 2005. Hey, its Latour!! It'll be worth the wait. Simon Staples - Sales & Marketing Director - Berry Bros. & Rudd
Tasting 2009 Les Forts de Latour was a truly exciting moment. The wine was so fantastic that we honestly wondered how on earth the Grand Vin could beat it. We were soon put right on that front - however that should not detract from the fact that Les Forts is a brilliant wine in 2009. It has a very, very complex nose with ultra-concentrated blackcurrant and blackberry fruit mingling with darker, more brooding earthy notes. Glorious fruit follows on the palate and the massive level of high, ripe tannins just seem to melt on the tongue. Not quite as ethereal as the Grand Vin, but this really isn’t far off; a fabulous second wine.