Wine: Best Wines: Château Latour


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Château Latour (Pauillac, Bordeaux) - Premier Grand Cru Classé

In 1378, Château Latour " en Saint-Maubert ", called later Château La Tour (i.e. the castle of the tower) and then Château Latour, entered the annals of recorded history.The history of the Saint-Maubert Tower is now a mystery because it doesn't exist anymore. In the 14th century the fortress was situated at about 300 meters from the river. The existing tower, which has nothing to do with the original, has no connection to the vineyard. The current tower is used as a pigeon house and was probably built with the stones of the old Château between 1620 and 1630. At the end of the 17th century, after a succession of sales, inheritances and marriages, the Latour estate became the property of the Ségur family. It is in 1718 with the Marquis Nicolas-Alexandre de Ségur that the great history of the vineyard starts. Thanks to the marriage of his father Alexandre de Ségur with Marie-Thérèse de Clausel, the Tower of Saint-Maubert entered the Segur family and remained in their hands for almost 300 years. Just before his death in 1716, Alexandre de Ségur also bought the Lafite wine estate. Two years later, his son, Nicolas-Alexandre, (called the Prince of Vine) increased the family holding with the acquisition of the Mouton wine estate (later Mouton-Rothschild) and Calon, which was later called Calon-Ségur. 

However, in 1755 the death of the Marquis Nicolas-Alexandre created substantial changes in the destiny of the Latour wine estate. Before his death, Lafite was given the most attention among his numerous estates. With the division of the Marquis' personal property, Latour finally received the necessary care and investment it required, and started to develop its full potential during the second half of that century.  At the beginning of the 18th century, Château Latour started to be highly recognized around the world. The European aristocracy and well-to-dos became very enthusiastic about a few great estates, of which Latour was one. At that time, a cask of Château Latour was already worth twenty times as much as an ordinary Bordeaux wine. Château Latour's reputation was confirmed in 1855, when the government of Napoléon III decided to classify the estates of the Médoc and the Graves regions for the International Exhibition in Paris. Château Latour was classified as First Growth - 'Premier Cru Classe' . The currently existing château was built during this "golden age", between 1862 and 1864 . In July 1993, the current owner, Allied Lyons, decided to sell their shares to François Pinault. Entrepreneur and businessman, Mr Pinault finally brought Château Latour back into French hands after 30 years of British ownership and his wife heads the PR activities.

Located in the famous Medoc wine region, about 40 kilometers north-west of the city of Bordeaux, the vineyard of Château Latour belongs to the Pauillac 'appellation'. The quality of its wine depends partly on the type of grape that is being used, but also on the exceptional combination of natural elements (geography, geology and climate) that constitute its territory. And an old Medocain proverb says that "only the vines that overlook the water are capable of producing wines of great quality". It is this very privileged setting, located only 300 meters from the Gironde river that bestows all its uniqueness upon the Château Latour wine. This setting so close to the river softens winter and spring temperatures and allows nature to develop earlier compared to other vineyards. Therefore, harvests are also earlier. Château Latour's richness like all great "Médoc" vintages gives the wines an exceptionally long life. The Grand Vin Chateau Latour is exclusively produced from the old vines which are situated in the 'Grand Enclos' (the main vineyard of 47 hectares), some of them being centenarian. 

Aging takes place in new barrels for 18 months. Grape varieties are  75 % cabernet sauvignon,  20 % merlot, 4 % cabernet franc and 1 % petit verdot. The estate's average annual production is about 220,000 bottles per vintage, that is to say 55 % of the total production on average. Due to the high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Latour is one of  the most tannic and opaque Bordeaux wines and you should wait at least ten years to enjoy one of the best red wines of the world. The wine can of course last for decades. The best vintages since 1945 are: 1945, 1947, 1949, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1975, 1978, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and  2001.

Address (also for Guided Tours):
Château Latour
33250 Paulliac, France
Phone : +33-5-5673 1980  Fax : +33-5-5673 1981
website: www.chateau-latour.com

Opening Hours: from Monday to Friday, except on French public holidays, from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm and from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm. Guided tours are by appointment only and for free. For summer visits, we advise reserving at least 1 month in advance. Groups are limited to 15 people. Please note that the visits are suspended during the renovation of the vat room and the cellars of the Estate. There are no direct sales at the estate.

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