Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ahh, Château Latour!

As I wait anxiously by the phone for confirmation from Vintages that my order for 2008 Château Latour is completed, let's look at some of the notes on Latour from a variety of wine writers. Some I like, some......well, let's just say everyone has a different palate. But then again, Latour doesn't exactly need a lot of flowery prose to move its wines. It won me over by being the first Premier Cru estate to release its prices, and LCBO is releasing them at a 40% reduction from 2007, which is fantastic. This was probably my best opportunity to obtain a wine of this stature - I made up my mind to go for it a long time ago. The next 2 months will really test my budgeting skills. I don't want to think about it, but the price for 3 bottles is quite obscene, if you think about it rationally. Good thing I'm not a rational person.

chateau-latour

Tasting notes below, with the writer's score and name in red:

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Offers currant and blackberry aromas, with hints of flowers. Starts as a slow attack on the palate, then builds with superpolished tannins and pretty fruit, offering berries and mineral. Long and caressing. 91-94pt, James Suckling

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A blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot and representing 40% of the production, this Latour has a ripe blackcurrant nose, cedar, crushed stones, just a hint of sous-bois. Full-bodied on the palate, very fine tannins, ripe blackberry, dark plum, a touch of spice, cedar, very “Cabernet”. Masculine, but very well poised. Minerally towards the finish. Like the Les Forts de Latour, there is an aloofness about it but it certainly a little sulky on the finish. Hopefully it will gain a greater sense of purpose and ebullience throughout its élevage. Tasted April 2009. 92-95pt, Neal Martin

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Black-red, terrific expression of blackcurrant fruit, slightly smoky and already complex, really fine floral fruit, really fine clear depth and length, a tight style, firm and classic, full of energy and savoury fruit, excitingly precise, tannins in perfect balance. Drink 2018-40. 19.5 points, Decanter

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Damn me for saying it, but I actually think the 2008 Latour will turn out to be even better than the 2005 or 2000. I still have a weakness for the 2003, but it is somewhat atypical in how forward, fleshy, and opulent it is. The 2008 Latour is a more concentrated version of the 1996, and that’s saying something…The natural alcohol of 13.48% may be the highest ever achieved at Latour. The final blend is 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, and 1% Cabernet Franc. Moreover, in a low yield year, only 40% of the production made it into the grand vin, so even with the global economic crisis, this is going to be a tightly allocated wine – with under 10,000 cases produced. A fabulous infant, it exhibits an inky/purple color as well
as extraordinarily pure notes of creme de cassis, crushed rocks, and flowers. The fact that there is no hint of oak is a testament to the vintage’s density and richness. The wine possesses full-bodied power as well as a boatload of tannin, and it is even more backward than Lafite Rothschild. Nevertheless, the hallmark of a great wine and potentially top-notch vintage
is the sweetness of the tannin, and that is evident. The wine is young, unevolved, and incredibly pure (another hallmark of this unexpectedly magical vintage) with an amazingly long, textured, layered finish. It should be forgotten for 5-8 years, and consumed over the following four decades. Drink 2014-2054. Score – 96-98. Robert Parker

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