Under the inspiring leadership of its new owner, Francois Pinault, Latour appears to be returning to the old style, classic, blockbuster, massive wines that were meant to last 40-50 years. The 1995 Latour was made from a traditional blend of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. Yields were modest (47 hectoliters per hectare), and the grapes were harvested between September 13 and September 28. Only 59% of the harvest was utilized for this wine. It is unquestionably the monster wine of the vintage. That is not said in a pejorative context, but rather in an admiring one. It is an extremely powerful and concentrated, full-bodied, backward wine, but it does not exhibit any harshness or toughness. Like many 1995s, the acidity is low. The wine is an explosive fruit ball that offers massive intensity, without yet having begun to reveal its full personality. The finish lasts for nearly a minute. This looks to be a great Latour that should turn out to be superior to the impressive 1994. It is still extremely raw and backward. It will be a must purchase for Latour fans who plan on living another 25-30 years. Wow!All of the wines in this segment were tasted between March 19 and March 28 in Bordeaux. Most of the important wines from both the 1994 and 1995 vintages were tasted three separate times during my ten-day stay in Bordeaux. Drink: 1996-2026.
Readers may remember that last year I thought the brawny, backward Latour would be one of the great successes of the 1995 vintage. The wine has developed magnificently in cask. It is not an exaggeration to say that the 1995 Latour, along with such right bank classics as Petrus, Clinet, Angelus, and Valandraud, and Mouton-Rothschild in the northern Medoc, is one of the most concentrated, viscous, and powerful wines of the vintage. The opaque black/purple color, unctuous texture, and enormous weight and richness are admirable. The wine is just beginning to offer up complex aromas of black currant, minerals, and spices, but overall, the aromatics remain tightly-knit. In the mouth, the 1995 Latour exhibits awesome concentration, a massive, powerful impact on the palate, with everything in balance. This exquisite, rich, low acid, highly tannic, broad-shouldered, massive Latour will require 10-15 years of cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2035. Last tasted 1/97.
I have been blown away by this wine on recent occasions, and all of my hopes for it being a prodigious example of Latour after bottling have proven to be correct. The wine is a more unctuously-textured, sweeter, more accessible Latour than the 1996. Wow! What a fabulous, profound wine this has turned out to be. It is unquestionably one of the great wines of the vintage, and will probably need 10-12 years of cellaring before it can be approached. The wine reveals an opaque purple color, and a knock-out nose of chocolate, walnuts, minerals, spice, and blackberry and cassis fruit. Exceptionally full-bodied, with exhilarating levels of glycerin, richness, and personality, this wine, despite its low acidity, possesses extremely high levels of tannin to go along with its equally gargantuan proportions of fruit. It is a fabulous Latour that should age effortlessly for 40-50 years.
A beauty, the opaque dense purple-colored 1995 exhibits jammy cassis, vanillin, and minerals in its fragrant but still youthful aromatics. Medium to full-bodied, with exceptional purity, superb concentration, and a long, intense, ripe, 40-second finish, this is a magnificent example of Latour. As the wine sat in the glass, scents of roasted espresso and toasty new oak emerged. This classic will require considerable cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2050
It is a common misconception that Château Latour was named after its cream-coloured tower - a 17th century edifice that served as a dovecote. The original tower that gave its name to this exemplary property was built in the 15th century as a watchtower to fend off invading pirates during the Hundred Years War. Unfortunately, it has long been eroded away. It can be considered the King of the First Growths, having the extraordinary power, structure and presence.
Due south of St Estèphe lies the appellation of Pauillac, the king of Left Bank communes. It is home to three first growths as well as a plethora of other classified growths. Pauillac's renowned well-draining, gravelly soils enable its dominant grape Cabernet Sauvignon to reach fantastic heights of complexity and concentration. As a result, Pauilac's wines tend to be full-bodied with compact tannins and good freshness. Its aromatics are often what one associates with classic Bordeaux: pencil shavings, black currant and occasional mint. Some of the most famous châteaux of the commune are Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild, Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande and Lynch Bages.