Red, For laying down

2010 Les Forts de Latour, Pauillac

2010 Les Forts de Latour, Pauillac

Red | For laying down | Chateau Latour | Code: 7802 | 2010 | France > Bordeaux > Pauillac | Cab.Sauvignon Blend | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 14.0 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

BBR

18/20

DECANTER

18/20

JANCIS

18/20

PARKER

97/100

WS

93-96/100

DECANTER - The second wine of Ch. Latour shows a slightly smoky nose, yet with a great expression of rich, vigorous fruit, superb freshness and structure.
Steven Spurrier – Decanter – Apr 2011

JANCIS - Very, very dark purple. Scented and supple on the nose! Oddly enough this seems lighter than one might expect from this vintage and name – has it absorbed all the lighter cuvées? Really quite luscious and sweet, despite its IPT of 87! Very rich for Forts. Very flattering and winning. The open face of Latour. A bit sweeter than usual – very much the open face. Less classic Latour than usual. 72.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25.5% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot. 40% of production
Jancis Robinson MW- jancis robinson.com, Apr 2011

PARKER - Bizarre as it may sound, the 2010 Les Forts de Latour is also the finest I have ever tasted from this selection, which comes from specific vineyards, not really so much a second wine as just another wine from estate holdings. A blend of 72.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27.5% Merlot that represents 40% of the production, this astonishing wine hit 14.3% natural alcohol. Extremely ripe and rich, it reminds me of the 1982 on steroids (and that wine is still drinking great 30 years after the vintage). Sensational notes of graphite, crushed rocks, black fruits, camphor and damp forest notes are present in this expansive, savory, full-throttle wine, which is better than many vintages of the great Latour itself from the past. (That may be a heretical statement, but it’s the truth as I see it.) This wine needs a good 5-6 years of cellaring and should age for three decades at minimum, given the fact that the 1982 is in terrific form and wasn’t this concentrated or prodigious.
Robert Parker- Wine Advocate- Feb 2013 Possibly the most profound Forts de Latour ever produced, the 2010, like its bigger brother, Latour, was harvested between the third week of September and October 11. Representing 40% of the production and tipping the scales at 14.3% alcohol, it is a blend of 72.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot. Super-concentrated as well as unctuously textured and opulent, this pure, deep Forts de Latour should drink well for 25-30 years. It is as great as the prodigious 1982, which is still drinking well at age 29.
Robert Parker- Wine Advocate- May 2011

WS - Les Forts de Latour  comes off as almost sweet, thanks to gentle ripeness and friendly plum sauce, raspberry and cherry compote notes, all backed by an energy that's in reserve. There's latent acidity rippling through the finish, where briar, pastis and graphite lurk as well. Really pure. A noticeable step up from the Pauillac. Tasted non-blind.
James Molesworth – The Wine Spectator – Top Scoring Bordeaux 2010 – 31 Mar 2011

The Producer

Chateau Latour

Chateau Latour

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.

The Grape

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

The Region

Pauillac

Pauillac

Pauillac is the aristocrat of the Médoc boasting boasting 75 percent of the region’s First Growths and with Grand Cru Classés representing 84 percent of Pauillac's production.

For a small town, surrounded by so many familiar and regal names, Pauillac imparts a slightly seedy impression. There are no grand hotels or restaurants – with the honourable exception of the establishments owned by Jean-Michel Cazes – rather a small port and yacht harbour, and a dominant petrochemical plant.

Yet outside the town, , there is arguably the greatest concentration of fabulous vineyards throughout all Bordeaux, including three of the five First Growths. Bordering St Estèphe to the north and St Julien to the south, Pauillac has fine, deep gravel soils with important iron and marl deposits, and a subtle, softly-rolling landscape, cut by a series of small streams running into the Gironde. The vineyards are located on two gravel-rich plateaux, one to the northwest of the town of Pauillac and the other to the south, with the vines reaching a greater depth than anywhere else in the Médoc.

Pauillac's first growths each have their own unique characteristics; Lafite Rothschild, tucked in the northern part of Pauillac on the St Estèphe border, produces Pauillac's most aromatically complex and subtly-flavoured wine. Mouton Rothschild's vineyards lie on a well-drained gravel ridge and - with its high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon - can produce (in its best years) Pauillac's most decadently rich, fleshy and exotic wine.

Latour, arguably Bordeaux's most consistent First Growth, is located in southern Pauillac next to St Julien. Its soil is gravel-rich with superb drainage, and Latour's vines penetrate as far as five metres into the soil. It produces perhaps the most long-lived wines of the Médoc.

Recommended Châteaux
Ch. Lafite-Rothschild, Ch. Latour, Ch. Mouton-Rothschild, Ch. Pichon-Longueville Baron, Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Ch. Lynch-Bages, Ch. Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Ch, Pontet-Canet, Les Forts de Latour, Ch. Haut-Batailley, Ch. Batailley, Ch. Haut-Bages Libéral.

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