The estate spans 78 hectares and is ideally located at the southern edge of Pauillac, bordering the St. Julien vineyards of Château Léoville Las Cases. The property was under English ownership for a period. The Pearson Group, who owns the Financial Times, and Harvey’s of Bristol, were both previous owners before the property passed to Allied Lyons in 1989. In 1993, the property again changed hands, this time to the French billionaire industrialist François Pinault. Pinault’s empire also includes Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci and Christie’s Auction House.
Pinault delegated day-to-day control of the estate and its wines to his dynamic President, Frédéric Engerer. Under his stewardship, a major programme of investment has skyrocketed Latour to an undisputed pre-eminent position in the Bordeaux wine hierarchy.
On average, between 16,000-20,000 cases of Latour are made every year, while only 10,000-12,000 cases of Les Forts de Latour are made. The number of generic Pauillac cases produced varies each year.
As is expected in Pauillac, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the vineyard, accounting for a staggering 80%. The remaining area is comprised of Merlot (18%) and Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot (2%).
Vinification is rigorously controlled, with strict selection of only the healthiest fruit, total destemming, and separate tanks for each parcel of vines. A three-week maceration is immediately followed by malolactic fermentation in vats before the wine chosen to become the famous Château Latour is run off into barrels for ageing. The wine destined to become Les Forts de Latour is aged in 50% new oak and 50% one-year-old barrels.
Stylistically, the wine is powerful, structured and compelling. Many consider Château Latour to be the most consistent performer amongst the First Growth Wines over the past century, acquiring an enviable reputation for producing an excellent wine in a challenging vintage. The wine has phenomenal aging potential, with the best vintages lasting a century or longer.
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