Something about Chateau Latour
Chateau Latour can trace its history to the 14th century when the original tower was constructed on the estate by Gaucelme de Castillon during the Hundred Years War. The ancient Pauillac estate is among the four of the Medoc vineyards designated as a first growth in the classification of 1855 and today is owned by François Pinault’s through his holding company, Artemis. The 78 hectare vineyard of Latour rests on an extraordinary terroir and is planted with 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot and 2% of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
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The 2006 Latour performed even better from bottle than from barrel. Only 38% of the production (10,000 cases) made it into the grand vin, a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest primarily Merlot and a small amount of Cabernet Franc. From barrel, I thought it was a modern day version of the 1996 or 1986, and certainly the 1996 comparison still holds. I thought it was somewhat austere from barrel, but that is no longer an issue. This is a beautifully rich Chateau Latour boasting a dense ruby/purple color, a sweet, smoky, charcoal, cassis, graphite, and forest floor-scented nose, full body, an attractive freshness, and sweet, noble tannins. This layered Latour is one of the vintage's top dozen or so wines. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2030.
The 2006 Latour is composed of 91.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7.5% Merlot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc and 0.5% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it charges out of the gate with impressively energetic crème de cassis, cured meats, wood smoke and black forest cake notions plus hints of licorice, sandalwood and iron ore, not to mention a fragrant waft of dried roses that emerges with coaxing. Medium to full-bodied, suitably rich, expressive and accented by sparks of exotic spices, it has a frame of now velvety tannins contributing just a bit of chew to the long, perfumed finish. Drinking beautifully now, it should cellar gracefully over the next 20+ years. 2018 - 2038
The 2006 Château Latour has quite a vibrant bouquet with lively raspberry, wild strawberry, cedar and pencil lead scents that all gently unfold in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with supple, slightly chewy red berry fruit, a dash of spice, maybe a little tight towards the finish, unlike the Lafite-Rothschild and Mouton-Rothschild. It has a grainy texture and offers fine precision on the finish, although I would have liked a little more persistence to come through, a tad more conviction. It is not quite the revelation of say the 2002 Latour that transcends the limitations of the vintage, yet it still has much to offer.
Very long. Wonderful licorice, berry and currant character. Full and silky, beautiful and pure. This is really distinguished. Feminine but strong. Classic Bordeaux style.
6% press wine. This vintage can be compared with 1986 yet in 2006 105mm rain fell in September, whereas 1986 was a perfect summer - which just shows how much work in the vineyard has evolved, and how much work is involved. The harvest took 250 people five muddy weeks, and the labour costs were 60% higher than in 2005. Picked at 4.5 g/l TA (acidity levels in the Cabernet were unusually high) but a lot was lost during fermentation (partly because there was quite a high proportion of malic acid in the grapes and this was softened by the malo, and partly because of the amount of tartaric acid that settled out). This is quite different from the old Latour yet the current team have managed to get it to evolve rather than change. Very dark crimson right out to rim. Dense with some wild herbs on the nose. Very wild and smooth and racy. Rather musical in the sense that there seem to be many different themes here. Not a hint of rusticity. Delicacy actually with masses of very very fine tannins. Great finesse as well as intensity. But very embryonic even though this is the final assemblage. Very very dry - very bright fruit. Strong herbs yet polish too. Very slightly raw and angular yet lifted lively.