Chateau Latour - 30 year vertical (1983-2010) tasted blind

Switzerland

Tasted November 28, 2018 by Collector1855 with 1,751 views

Introduction

Intro
Back in Fribourg with Switzerland's most prolific Bordeaux collector. This night we took a look at Chateau Latour. Hard to pick a favorite among Premier Grand Crus but if I had to, Latour has always been my prime candidate. However, tonight it wasn’t such a slam dunk as you may expect. While there were many good and some great wines, there were also some notable misses. Having done verticals of all five Premier Grand Crus, I would characterize Latour as the most structured, at times even with a certain unforgiving rusticity which is not worthy a Premier Grand Cru. Aromatically with lots of dark fruit, forest floor, pine, underbrush, barnyard, autumnal aromas, the wine is probably the strongest among the five in this area. Structurally Margaux and Lafite offer more elegance, Haut Brion more consistency. Consistency was the issue tonight indeed. There are unripe wines in the 80ies and 90ies and there have been cellar impurities in the past which led to lots of tainted/TCA bottles - we also had our fair share tonight. As always in the sessions in Fribourg, the French wine critic Jean-Marc Quarin was present as well as 16 tasters. The wines were not decanted (opened 2h before) and tasted blind in flights of four.

Best wines of the night: The 2010 no doubt, followed by the 1990, 2003, 1989 and 2009. Shows that Latour is really a wine for warmer years. Global warming actually came in handy here, at least for now.

Flight 1 - Apero (2 notes)

White
2001 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile France, Alsace
Nose of bee wax, flowers, some nuttiness too. on the ripe side, first time I am drinking this wine. Is this the house style or was this an off bottle as it lacked the freshness that I am used to from the German Rieslings. Probably not a representative bottle as the 2004 I drank a few days after was clean with bright acidity. NR
2 people found this helpful Comments (2)
White
2014 Nouveau Salquenen (Mathier) Johannisberg Ambassadeur fumé Gros Rhin Switzerland, Valais, Salquenen
90 points
A pleasant white wine, Muller-Thurgau made with oak, not your normal combo. Some vanilla and toast notes, good freshness. interesting bottle shape too.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 2 (4 notes)

Red
2003 Pauillac de Latour France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
93 points
Nose of dark fruit, forest floor, nice Latour terroir aromatics here. The palate offers good mid mouth fill, fresh, a bit lighter than the samples next to it but not a mile. Very good showing to my surprise at least.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2003 Les Forts de Latour France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
95 points
Nose is closed, coaxing aromas of red fruit and dark fruit, forest floor. Good stuffing on the palate here. A very complete Bordeaux.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2003 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
98 points
A big step up here. Denser riper, lots of blue fruit, cured meat, forest. Good mid mouth fill, fresh and well structured despite the ripe fruit, no heat or cooked fruit, very clean exit from the 2003 heat wave I must say. First time tonight I wrote "wow" on the scorecard. 98+
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
1998 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
This wine was utterly bizarre. Marmalade, spice, cooked fruit (but not oxidized), drying finish. An off bottle? Rating withheld. NR
2 people found this helpful Comment

Flight 3 (4 notes)

Red
2005 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
93 points
The nose is very primary here. Fresh crunchy read fruit, missing complexity. The palate also on the lean side. Harmless I wrote down. The wine did not find many friends and a gasp went through the room when it was revealed that it was the 2005. Jean-Marc Quarin commented that he always felt that the 2005 was weak in the context of the vintage, probably picked to early he speculated. Apparently the wine maker was dismissed after this vintage, which suggests that the owners were not happy either with what was produced in that year at Latour. A shame! In any case, have to revisit this to see if this sub-par performance is a 1-off or not.
8 people found this helpful Comments (9)
Red
2002 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
95 points
Nose of dark fruit, forest floor, pine, a hint of greenness but not a disturbing one. Mid bodied palate, good aromatic persistency. A solid Latour, well done for the vintage and ready to drink now
4 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
2000 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
96 points
Very closed nose, underneath there is lots of hidden stuff. Complex with underbrush, toast, farmyard. The palate is dense, structurally still demanding, the wine feels young also from the color. Not much pleasure now. What will this be once finished? I wrote. Good potential but probably one for after 2025. Like the Leoville Las Cases, I think the 2000's have gone back to sleep. Wait. 96+
3 people found this helpful Comments (3)
Red
2001 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
Hmm, not sure what is happening here. Nose of maggi beef stock but not oxidative, just off-message on terroir vs the other wines. Lots of alcoholic heat on the palate too. Felt forced. Jean-Marc meant the bottle was probably not representative given his many other encounters with this wine. NR
2 people found this helpful Comment

Flight 4 (4 notes)

Red
2004 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
flawed
Sadly corked. The first of three, which makes it a 10% corkage rate at this tasting plus two other off bottles. Not a good ratio.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2008 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
96 points
Lots of dark fruit here, licorice, forest floor, very classic and deep Latour profile. The palate is well crafted, medium+ tannins, classic. Long finish, slightly drying. I really liked this bottle but clearly one to have with food.
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2009 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
97 points
The nose here sticks out of the pack, much, much riper than anything next to it. Flamboyant but for me almost too ripe. It did find many friends in the room and scored highly. The palate is well polished, drinks nicely, tannins soft and integrated. Not surprised when I heard it was 2009. Very good but tonight nowhere near the fantastic 2010.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2007 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
94 points
Difficult position after the flamboyant 2009 but this wine held its own. I liked the classic nose here with forest floor, pine, earth. Serious and dense on the palate, a touch of greenness but much less than other vintages tonight. Very good overall, especially for the vintage.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 5 (4 notes)

Red
2010 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
100 points
This wine did not want to leave any doubt who was the king of the show. Right off the bat, lots of ooh's and aah's in the room. It combined the richness and soft palate of the 2009 with the freshness of the cooler vintages. Deep blue fruit, forest floor, toast, licorice, etc. tell-tale Latour aromatics. Most impressive from start to finish and confirms that 2010 is the vintage to beat in Europe in my in generation. Burgundy, Brunello, Barolo, Rhone North & South, 2010 always rules. The clear WOTN and a well-deserved 100 points
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2011 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
93 points
OK tough luck to come after the spectacular 2010. The nose felt a bit green here, blue fruit, forest floor. Lighter on the palate but not hollow, good structure, very young but tannins drying on the finish. Given the solid 2007 this may add a point or two but will never be among the spectacular Latours.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2006 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
flawed
Sadly corked. The second of three, which makes it a 10% corkage rate at this tasting plus two other off bottles. Not a good ratio.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1997 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
93 points
Holy mother, are we drinking Dujac or Prieur Roch with whole cluster fermentation here? This wine was so green in the nose that leaves no doubt that they picked unripe CabSav. No, having mentioned whole cluster fermented Burgundy I actually can handle that aroma personally but it should of course not be there in a top class Bordeaux. The good news for those who have this in the cellar the palate is actually very nice. Soft, light, elegant, Burgundian, what can I say. Nose 91, Palate 94.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 6 (4 notes)

Red
1999 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
88 points
Also here we have a rather green nose. The wine also came across as too diluted for pedigree Pauillac. A clear miss.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1996 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
96 points
Nose of dark fruit, forest, pine, complex nose but a touch of greenness as well. Improves on the palate but there is an acidic and strict side to it as well which prevents a higher score. Good but not among the best tonight.
2 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
1995 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
95 points
Classic nose of barnyard, forest floor, dark fruit. Lovely. The palate is medium bodied. Very solid but lacks the power and stamina of the very best vintages. Solid Latour here as well but not among the best.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
1991 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
94 points
Nose of dark fruit, cigar box, underbrush. On the light side structurally but well crafted. Does not pretend to be something it can't. I found this a very pleasant Latour. Good job given the vintage. Fully mature, Drink up. 94+
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 7 (4 notes)

Red
1990 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
99 points
Expressive and beautiful nose here with dark fruit, exotic aromas of red fruit as well, barnyard, sweet spices. Lush palate, very good structure. I really liked this. Mature Bordeaux at its best.
1 person found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
1992 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
flawed
Sadly corked. The third, which makes it a 10% corkage rate at this tasting plus two other off bottles. Not a good ratio.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1993 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
94 points
Lovely nose of dark fruit, barnyard, earth, very correct and classic Latour. The palate is on the light side, lacks a bit of mid mouth volume but otherwise very correct. In the good but not great category.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
1994 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
94 points
Quite a different profile than the 1993 next to it. More structure and mid mouth volume but also more greenness and less ripe tannins. The aromas are deep here, very Medoc and the mid palate proper but the borderline ripeness cannot be fully hidden. If you like it softer, go for the 1993.
2 people found this helpful Comment

Flight 8 (4 notes)

Red
1989 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
98 points
Expressive and complex nose here with dark fruit, black forest cake pointing towards good ripeness. The palate is generous, soft, rich and ripe with very good structure. Among the best Latours of the night.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1988 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
87 points
What can be said about the fantastic pair 1989/90 cannot be repeated for the measly 1987/88 duo. Both wines showed a lot of greenness in the nose plus meager palates and drying finish.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1987 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
87 points
What can be said about the fantastic pair 1989/90 cannot be repeated for the measly 1987/88 duo. Both wines showed a lot of greenness in the nose plus meager palates and drying finish.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1986 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
96 points
Expressive nose of licorice, dark fruit, also some cherry tones. The palate is very opulent here as well, good ripeness. A nice showing of a vintage that I usually don’t like that much. May be it just took 30 years for it to come around.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 9 (4 notes)

Red
1983 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
93 points
A green nose here as well, like a Burgundy whole cluster but at a level where, if you can handle that aroma, is still acceptable. Medium bodied, soft, mature structure. Drink up, will surely be pleasant with food.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1984 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
84 points
I heard a lot of the bad 1984 vintage but I rarely taste it as it is way before my time of collecting. This was another reminder that I did not miss anything. The 1984 Latour smells not like horse sweat but more like stinky horse poo. Light palate and color. Don’t waste your money on this or any other 1984 Bordeaux.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1985 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
90 points
Not nearly as good as the 1986. The nose was decent with classic forest aromas, clearly Medoc but a little green. The palate was on the acidic side with drying tannins. Nose 93, Palate 88.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1937 Château Latour Grand Vin France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
flawed
Light garnet, translucent color. Fully converted to vinegar unfortunately but then again, what do you expect from a 80+ year old wine. Has a long live ahead - as a salad dressing :-)
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 10 - Cold Cuts Platter (2 notes)

White - Off-dry
1999 Trimbach Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives France, Alsace
90 points
Decent but much less impressive than the spectacular 2000 hors choix next to it. This wine comes across as a bit too sweet and flabby with aromas of stone fruit, herbs, honey.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sweet/Dessert
2000 Trimbach Gewurztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles Hors Choix France, Alsace
98 points
Wow, what a nose! Ripe apricots, quince, flowers, honey, lychee but also the herbal side of Gwurztraminer coming through. Sweet but with good freshness. A rare treat and great way to finish a 30-year Latour evening with a Vacherin, Gruyere etc. cheese & charcuterie platter.
3 people found this helpful Comment

Closing

After having sat through this tasting, I came to the conclusion that it is better to conduct Latour vertical tastings with food. I know that sounds horrible for the purists, but since the wine can often be a bit stern and does not depict flamboyance and generous fruit as its main character, you will have much more pleasure from the evening if you serve it with food.

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