While the Bordeaux Classification system now
treated as holy writ was drawn up in 1855, the vineyards that produce the top
wines of Pauillac were already being referred to as "Premiers Crus" by
the 18th century. The original tower no longer exists, the site of this tower was probably located where the chai stands today, due to its proximity to an ancient well,
but in the 1620s a circular tower (La Tour de Saint-Lambert) was built on the estate and though it is actually designed as a pigeon roost remains a strong symbol of the vineyard. The vineyard of château Latour, created about 1680, is one of the oldest in Médoc.
It rapidly acquired prestigious renown, fully justified by the quality of its wines. First of all, this quality comes from the exceptional geographic and geological situation on gravel crests overlooking the Gironde and also to the fact that, of all the vineyards in Médoc, it is nearest the river.
In 1993 François Pinault, businessman and wine connoisseur bought the Chateau
from an English group. He seems determined to improve the quality further.
Latour's great vintages are famed for their longevity, requiring longer to mature than most other great clarets. It is also known for consistently producing exceptional wines even in comparatively poor vintages, when other vineyards yield only disappointing results. The "Grand Vin" is exclusively produced from the old vines which are situated in the "Grand Enclos" (the main vineyard of 47 hectares), some of them being centenarian.
Ageing : In new barrels, for 18 months.
Grape varieties : 75 % cabernet sauvignon ; 20 % merlot ; 4 % cabernet franc ; 1 % petit
The chief characteristics of Chateau Latour are: Intense,
deep, luxurious and firm.
Les Forts de Latour
Second wine of Chateau Latour,
this wine is produced :
a) with the grapes from the " young vines " of the Chateau Latour "Grand Enclos", which are less than 12 years old.
b) from the grapes grown on three plots situated outside the "Grand Enclos",
c) in addition, and depending on the quality of the vintage, certain vats of Grand Vin may not, after numerous tastings, be up to the standards required.
They may then be demoted to " Les Forts de Latour ". Since 1990, it is released "en primeur", like its " big brother ", the Grand Vin.
Les Forts de Latour
This is surprisingly concentrated and complex for a ‘second' wine -- but maybe
not so surprising given that it is Chateau Latour's second. Latour, after all,
is the most massive and backward of all the chateau.