2009 Les Forts de Latour, Pauillac

2009 Les Forts de Latour, Pauillac

Product: 20098012414
Prices start from £1,643.16 per case Buying options
2009 Les Forts de Latour, Pauillac

Description

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.
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About this WINE

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.

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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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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.

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Reviews

Customer reviews

The Wine Advocate95/100
Jancis18/20
Wine Spectator 93-96/100
Parker95/100
Decanter18/100

Critic reviews

The Wine Advocate95/100
The deep garnet colored 2009 Les Forts de Latour springs forth with minted chocolate, blackberry pie, sweaty leather and cast iron pan notes with hints of bay leaves and unsmoked cigars. Medium to full-bodied and laden with muscular black fruit preserves and savory layers, it has a firm, grainy frame and lovely freshness, finishing with a minty kick.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown - 14/03/2019 Read more
Jancis18/20
Toasty and rich nose. Very plush and velvety – much more so than usual. Rich and velvety – such an amazing texture yet with Les Fort’s solidity. Very firm backbone. Explosive. But it will need quite a time to come round. Very fine and deep. Hint of oyster shells. Lifted. Wonderful texture. Very tight and tense. Dry finish.
Jancis Robinson MW - jancisrobinson.com - April 2010 Read more
Wine Spectator 93-96/100
Violet and mineral, with hints of blackberry and blueberry on the nose. Full-bodied, with superreserved and refined tannins, yet dense and very impressive. Long and racy. Lasts for minutes. Second wine of Latour.
James Suckling - Wine Spectator - March 2010 Read more
Parker95/100
Possibly the best second wine ever made at Latour (and I love how the 1982 is drinking at age 30), the 2009 Les Forts de Latour is composed of two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot blended with a tiny dollop of Petit Verdot, and finished at 13.5% alcohol. Juicy notes of creme de cassis, licorice, camphor, smoke and crushed rocks are followed by a rich, unctuously textured, thick, juicy, exceptionally pure, long wine. This beauty will be at its finest in several years and should keep for three decades.

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.
95 Robert Parker - Wine Advocate - Feb 2012

Perhaps the finest example ever made (including the extraordinary 1982) of Les Forts de Latour, the 2009 (61.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32.3% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot) is nearly as potent as the Pauillac at 13.5% alcohol. An opaque purple color is followed by notes of black fruits, crushed rocks, spring flowers, and hints of blackberries and smoke. Prodigiously rich and thick with an amazingly long finish of 50 seconds, this astonishing second wine will undoubtedly put on weight before bottling, and should last for 25-30 years.
93-95 Robert Parker - Wine Advocate - April 2010 Read more
Decanter18/100
Black red, great fragrance and precision on the nose, great depth of fruit and superb vineyard expression, ripeness, energy and grip over perfect tannins, very good indeed.
Steven Spurrier - Decanter - April 2010 Read more