Chateau Latour (scuffed label) 2005
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
At the beginning of the eighteenth century, Chateau Latour started to be highly recognized around the world, thanks to the reconquest of the British market and the development of the wine business in Northern Europe. The aristocracy and other wealthy groups of consumers became very enthusiastic about a few great estates, of which Latour was one. And that was how Thomas Jefferson, ambassador of the United States in France, and future President, discovered this wine in 1787. At that time, a cask of Chateau Latour was already worth twenty times as much as one of ordinary Bordeaux wine.
The reputation of Chateau Latour was consolidated during the 19th century. It was confirmed in 1855, when the government of Napoléon III decided to classify the growths of the Médoc and the Graves for the International Exhibition in Paris: Chateau Latour was classified as a First Growth. The existing chateau was built during this "Golden Age", between 1862 and 1864.
The leader on the Left Bank in number of first growth classified producers within its boundaries, Pauillac has more than any of the other appellations, at three of the five. Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild border St. Estephe on its northern end and Chateau Latour is at Pauillac’s southern end, bordering St. Julien.
While the first growths are certainly some of the better producers of the Left Bank, today they often compete with some of the “lower ranked” producers (second, third, fourth, fifth growth) in quality and value. The Left Bank of Bordeaux subscribes to an arguably outdated method of classification that goes back to 1855. The finest chateaux in that year were judged on the basis of reputation and trading price; changes in rank since then have been miniscule at best. Today producers such as Chateau Pontet-Canet, Chateau Grand Puy-Lacoste, Chateau Lynch-Bages, among others (all fifth growth) offer some of the most outstanding wines in all of Bordeaux.
Defining characteristics of fine wines from Pauillac (i.e. Cabernet-based Bordeaux Blends) include inky and juicy blackcurrant, cedar or cigar box and plush or chalky tannins.
Layers of gravel in the Pauillac region are key to its wines’ character and quality. The layers offer excellent drainage in the relatively flat topography of the region allowing water to run off into “jalles” or streams, which subsequently flow off into the Gironde.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.