- Château Latour
- Cab. Sauvignon/ Merlot/ Cab. Franc/ Petit Verdot
- 2018 - 2045
- Case size
Robert Parker, April 1997,
Millionaires will have a great deal of fun comparing the last three vintages of Latour, 1994, 1995, and 1996. The 1995 should win most of the head-to-head tastings, but in 15-20 years, I expect the 1996 to be at the same quality level as the 1995. The massive 1996 Latour was made from a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc. Fifty-six percent of Latour's production went into this wine. Yields were a modest 45 hectoliters per hectare (3 tons per acre). The wine is a textbook Latour, as well as a classic Pauillac. It is huge, rugged, and forbidding in its brooding richness, structure, and tannin. The nose reluctantly offers up scents of cassis, minerals, roasted nuts, and, surprisingly, little new oak (another positive characteristic that suggests to me there is very impressive extract in the Medoc's top wines. There is a blue fruit character combined with the classic cassis and mineral-like flavors. Some licorice, as well as chocolate emerge with airing in this full-bodied, powerful, extremely backward wine. I cannot see the 1996 being close to maturity for at least 15+ years. Knowing I will turn 50 in a few months, I wondered if I should consider buying this wine for drinking in my lifetime. In any event, I find readers with the requisite discretionary income to afford these works of art tend to think optimistically. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2040. P.S. By the way, the 1996 Forts de Latour (a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Merlot) is a very fine effort. This wine possesses excellent sweetness, crisp acidity, and a deep, black/purple color. It is much more forward than the grand vin, but it still needs 7-8 years of cellaring; it will last for 25 or more years. It is a candidate for a 90 point score.
Robert Parker, February 1998,
The 1996 is a fabulous wine that should rival, and (in 15-20 years) possibly eclipse the extraordinary 1995. The 1996 Latour is a huge, massive, blockbuster example of this wine, the likes of which are distinct and original. The wine boasts an opaque ruby/purple color, as well as extraordinary, thick, monster-sized fruit, glycerin, and extract on the palate, and a finish that lasts for 40+ seconds. As I indicated last year, 56% of Latour's production went into the 1996, which is a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc. In addition to being a classic Pauillac, it is a textbook Latour, with formidable power, compelling purity, and remarkable presence on the palate. The nose is just beginning to offer some of the mineral, roasted herbs, grilled meats, cassis, and blackberry character of this great first-growth. Full-bodied and layered, with amazing power and richness, but no sense of heaviness, this is a wine to buy for your children. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2040.
Robert Parker, April 1999,
Fifty-six percent of the 1996 production made it into the grand vin, a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. It is a massive, backward wine that comes close to being a monster. The wine reveals an opaque ruby/purple color, as well as reticent but emerging aromas of roasted nuts, blackberry fruit, tobacco, and coffee, with hints of pain grille in the background. Massive and full-bodied in the mouth, it possesses extremely high tannin, fabulous concentration and purity, and an impeccably long finish. This wine, bottled in July, 1998, will require at least a decade of cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2040.
Robert Parker, June 2000,
A spectacular Latour, the 1996 may be the modern day clone of the 1966, only riper. This vintage, which is so variable in Pomerol, St.-Emilion, and Graves, was fabulous for the late-harvested Cabernet Sauvignon of the northern Medoc because of splendid weather in late September and early October. An opaque purple color is followed by phenomenally sweet, pure aromas of cassis infused with subtle minerals. This massive offering possesses unreal levels of extract, full body, intensely ripe, but abundant tannin, and a finish that lasts for nearly a minute. Classic and dense, it displays the potential for 50-75 years of longevity. Although still an infant, it would be educational to taste a bottle. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2050.
Wine Advocate, February 2019,
A hot, dry August produced very concentrated grapes in 1996. However, it turned a bit rainy in mid-September through early October, making the vintage less consistent on the Right Bank and in Graves. But as the weather turned glorious from early October on, it was an amazing year for later-harvested Cabernet in the Médoc. There was new ownership at Latour by this time, and a new vat room was completed just prior to the harvest this year. The 1996 Latour is medium to deep garnet in color with a profound earthy, meaty, gamey nose with hints of blueberry preserves, crème de cassis and pencil shavings. The palate is full-bodied, concentrated and packed with muscular fruit, with a firm, ripe, grainy backbone and epically long finish. Showing much more youthfully than the 2000 tasted on the same day and still possessing bags of youthful fruit in the mid-palate, this beauty is going to go on and on!
Wine Advocate, October 2016,
The 1996 Latour was the first to be made in the new vat room that was completed in the nick of time before the fruit came in. Frédéric Engerer told me that they had no "Plan B" if it had not been ready! He also told me that the 1996 underwent little sorting and no green harvest. It was picked around 22-23 September. Now at 20 years of age, it has quite a complex bouquet that is approaching full maturity, laden with blackberry, charcoal, pencil lead and cedar scents that display impressive precision. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, well balanced with a keen thread of acidity. It is foursquare, correct and very "Latour": saline in the mouth with good depth towards the finish and this bottle showing a dash of black pepper and a hint of licorice on the finish. While not in the same division as say, Mouton-Rothschild or Château Margaux this vintage, it remains a splendid, if quite "serious" Latour. Drink this now and over the next 15-20 years. 2016-2031
Clive Coates, June 2001,
Very full colour. A little closed on the nose.Very high quality. Splendid, nicely austereCabernet nose. Full body. Quite sometannin. Yet not a blockbuster. Very refined.Very classic. Very pure and intense at theend. Drink 2010-2040
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. Château Latour's vines are planted on the gravel soil of Paulliac, most of them stand 12 to 16 metres above the Gironde Estuary. 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.