A true stand-out at the Union des Grands Crus tasting, this really is a success. The high clay content of the estate’s parcels around the Martillac rise meant the vines could sit out the summer drought in relative ease. It has a gorgeous perfume, in the citrus spectrum rather than tropical. It has a wonderful intensity to the fruit core, and is elegant, fresh, and light-footed on the palate, with a fine finish. Terrific value. CP
The Latour-Martillac 2016 Blanc was missing some complexity on the nose, especially after such brilliant examples produced in the previous two vintages. The palate is well balanced with orange rind and mandarin notes, though to be honest it is missing some tension on the finish and it does not draw you back for another sip. Drink Date 2019 - 2027
Racy and lean. Really sinewy. Bone dry. Even a bit austere... Drink 2017-2023
The 2016 Latour-Martillac Blanc offers lovely persistence from start to finish. Lemon confit, white flowers and sweet mint notes, along with the texture of the Sémillon, give the wine its midpalate creaminess and depth. This classy white will drink well upon release.
With more structure and power this seems a little too weighty, but the fruit can handle it and so can the acid. Big and beautiful.
A wine that often shows gunflinty, thiol-derived characters in its youth, this is particularly well balanced in 2016, with understated, stylish oak, a leesy, textured mid palate and pithy, citrus-edged acidity. Chalky and refreshing. 2019-26
Château Latour Martillac in Pessac Léognan produces both a Grand Cru Classé red and white. It has been owned by the Kressmann family since the mid nineteenth century, currently overseen by brothers Tristan and Loïc. The winemaking and viticulture team headed up by Valérie Vialard have been integral to the estate’s success over the past two decades. Its white – a barrel femented blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc – is quite possibly one of the best value in the whole region, offering a quintessential example of great white Bordeaux at an extremely reasonable price. Its reds are firm and leafy, and characteristic of the Grave’s blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot.
Stretching from the rather unglamorous southern suburbs of Bordeaux, for 50 km along the left bank of the river Garonne, lies Graves. Named for its gravelly soil, a relic of Ice Age glaciers, this is the birthplace of claret, despatched from the Middle Ages onwards from the nearby quayside to England in vast quantities. It can feel as though Bordeaux is just about red wines, but some sensational white wines are produced in this area from a blend of sauvignon blanc, Semillon and, occasionally, muscadelle grapes, often fermented and aged in barrel. In particular, Domaine de Chevalier is renowned for its superbly complex whites, which continue to develop in bottle over decades. A premium appellation, Pessac-Leognan, was created in 1987 for the most prestigious terroirs within Graves. These are soils with exceptional drainage, made up of gravel terraces built up in layers over many millennia, and consequently thrive in mediocre vintages but are less likely to perform well in hotter years. These wines were appraised and graded in their own classification system in 1953 and updated in 1959, but, like the 1855 classification system, this should be regarded with caution and the wines must absolutely be assessed on their own current merits.