Château Latour is a French wine estate, rated as a First Growth under the 1855 Bordeaux Classification, owned by Groupe Artemis. Latour lies at the very southeastern tip of the commune of Pauillac in the Médoc region to the north-west of Bordeaux, at its border with Saint-Julien, and only a few hundred metres from the banks of the Gironde estuary.
The estate produces three red wines in all. In addition to its Grand vin, Latour has also produced the second wine Les Forts de Latour since 1966, and a third wine, simply named Pauillac, has been released every year since 1989.
Les Forts de Latour takes its name from an historic plot in the « Enclos ». The wine was first labelled with this name in 1966 and constant work on developing its quality has resulted in its achieving the level of a Médoc Grand Cru Classé.
The origin of this wine is threefold:
• The edge of the Enclos.
• Some plots that could be used in the Grand Vin may finally be included in the Forts de Latour blend, depending on how their quality is judged during the blending tastings.
• Plots located outside the Enclos, in Cru Classé areas of Pauillac:
These consist on the one hand, of plots such as Piñada, Petit Batailley and St. Anne, which have belonged to the estate for more than a century and whose vines benefit from a high average age (around 40 years), synonymous with quality. And on the other hand, of a seven hectare island of vines in the commune of Artigues on gravel terraces, which was acquired in 2005. Plus a handful of plots (about 5 hectares) acquired in 2012.
These various blocks of plots present very different terroirs, thereby offering Forts de Latour more varied characteristics and flavour profiles depending on the vintage.
Les Forts de Latour is produced with the same meticulous care as the Grand Vin, both in the vineyard and in the winery. The only notable difference, apart from the origin of the grapes, is the proportion of new barrels (50 to 60%) used in the maturing stage.
The blend for Forts de Latour can vary from one year to the next but there is always a higher proportion of Merlot (25 to 30%) compared to the Grand Vin.
2010 was a very dry vintage of exceptional quality, producing incredibly structured and complex wines that are a little formidable when young but should age incredibly. Deep garnet-purple colored, the nose of the 2010 Les Forts de Latour is broody with subtle notes of licorice, tar, crushed black berries and plums with hints of spice cake and hoisin. Full-bodied, firm and grainy with an impenetrable core of muscular fruit, it finishes with fantastic persistence. Give it 5-7 years at least, and then it may well outlive the 1970 Les Forts that I recently tasted with Latour’s CEO, Frédéric Engerer! [97 points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown – February 2019, robertparker.com]