|The famed tower at Chateau Latour|
|La Brasserie de Bordelaise|
When we rose from our sleep the first morning on Bordeaux, this incredible feeling of anticipation overcame us, this was it, the big day in the Medoc, the grand Chateau were on our agenda for the day. We were picked up by our driver on this day, driving in style in a Range Rover we made our way the hour north to our first stop, Chateau Latour. The urban feel of Bordeaux gave way to a mix of suburbs and industrial parks on the outskirts of town, and then those gave way to the vineyards which spread out and rolled on in what seemed like forever in different directions. The sky was clear and blue, the sun high and bright, one could not have better weather to tour the Medoc.
As we pulled up to the gate we were greeted and shown the way in to the eastern part of the property to our tour and tasting of this legendary property. Chateau Latour is my favorite first growth Bordeaux, tops on many lists as one of the greatest wines of the world. Sonia Guerlou was our guide as we met first at the Chais, where we watched a short film on the four seasons at Chateau Latour, showing the life of the vine over a year. This was some pretty slick stuff, very impressive and much better than I was expecting. The short film lasted about 1o minutes and was not narrated, which left you up to your eyes to interpret the visuals for you.
|The front gate at Chateau Latour|
|The actual Chateau Latour|
|Fermentation tanks Chateau Latour|
|Chateau Latour barrel room|
|The private cellar chock full of back vintage Latour|
|The vineyards looking east to the estuary and the Gironde River|
|3rd, 2nd and the 1st Wines of Chateau Latour|
Wonderfully classic as 2004 is just that kind of vintage, pure cassis and currants, earth, and minerality in layers of depth that unfold gracefully on the palate. Balanced and pure, this is a more affordable vintage for those looking to get a better priced Latour that will drink well soon but also age for 20+ years. The best grapes on the property come from the vineyard sections called “l'Enclos”; this is the heart of the Latour property and the wine. The Grand Vin is aged in 100% new French oak.
2005 Les Forts de Latour, 2nd wine of Chateau Latour
Excellent depth, medium oak influence. Overall the LFdL is more approachable than the Grand Vin overall. This wine is the 2005 LFdL and is more approachable with seemingly less tannin, even than the 2004 grand vin which is subtler vintage. 2005 was a high tannin vintage for Latour (and most Medoc wines), but I think the aim for Les Forts de Latour is not the same as the grand vin for decades long longevity, maybe just 1 to 3 decades instead of 3-7 decades or more in great years of the grand vin. This wine shows nicely with dark red currants, cherry, cassis, classic toasty French oak, with a touch of mocha and toasty oak. Sturdy, yet fine tannins. Les Forts de Latour is aged in 50% new French oak and 50% in oak barrels already used so they are more neutral and impart less of an oak presence (and to an extent less tannin).
2006 The Pauillac, 3rd wine of Latour
The focus here on this wine is the fruit, lots of bright red fruits. With barely any new oak, this sharpens the focus on the fruit. The blend is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot. The palate reveals tart cherry, currants, and minerality. As expected this is the leanest of the 3 with more acidity and definitely for near term consumption. The fruit for “The Pauillac” is sourced from the juvenile vines of the Latour properties. The Pauillac is aged in only 5% new oak, the remaining in neutral oak barrels.
|Latour in the glass|
The Le Lion d’Or lives up to its reputation: lunch was delicious and the service was a tab cranky. Most of the crankiness was due to my trying to speak too much broken French and then too much English. The chef was actually the nicest one, checking on how our meal was progressing a few times. We ate on the back patio under a large canopy umbrella to shield us from the steady sun. Some white Bordeaux and some fresh claret were the call for drinks, while we both ordered the steak tartare that was served with chips (think perfectly cooked thick sliced potato chips). This was probably the best steak tartare I had ever had. As we finished out lunch, we walked around the village of Arcins, not much was there to look at so we walked back to meet our driver and head to our next appointment.
|Le Lion d’Or, Arcins|