Forts de Latour Pricing
Highest rated vintages for Forts de Latour
Bizarre as it may sound, the 2010 Les Forts de Latour is also the finest I have ever tasted from this selection, which comes from specific vineyards, not really so much a second wine as just another wine from estate holdings. A blend of 72.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27.5% Merlot that represents 40% of the production, this astonishing wine hit 14.3% natural alcohol. Extremely ripe and rich, it reminds me of the 1982 on steroids (and that wine is still drinking great 30 years after the vintage). Sensational notes of graphite, crushed rocks, black fruits, camphor and damp forest notes are present in this expansive, savory, full-throttle wine, which is better than many vintages of the great Latour itself from the past. (That may be a heretical statement, but it’s the truth as I see it.) This wine needs a good 5-6 years of cellaring and should age for three decades at minimum, given the fact that the 1982 is in terrific form and wasn’t this concentrated or prodigious. There is no denying the outrage and recriminations over the decision by the Pinault family and their administrator, Frederic Engerer, to pull Latour off the futures market next year. However, you can still buy these 2010s, although the first two wines are not likely to be released until they have more maturity, which makes sense from my perspective. Perhaps Latour may have offended a few loyal customers who were buying wines as futures, but they are trying to curtail all the interim speculation that occurs with great vintages of their wines (although only God knows what a great vintage of future Latour will bring at seven or eight years after the harvest). As a set of wines, the 2010s may be the Pinaults’ and Engerer’s greatest achievements to date. Of course, I suspect the other first-growth families won’t want to hear that, nor will most of the negociants in Bordeaux, but it’s just the way things are. Frederic Engerer, by no means the most modest of administrators at the first growths, thinks it would be virtually impossible to produce a wine better than this, and he may well be correct. If they gave out Academy Awards for great performances in wine, the Pinaults and Engerer would certainly fetch a few in 2010. P.S. Just so you don’t worry, Engerer offered up the 2009 next to the 2010 to see if I thought it was still a 100-point wine, and yes, ladies and gentlemen, it still is.
Possibly the best second wine ever made at Latour (and I love how the 1982 is drinking at age 30), the 2009 Les Forts de Latour is composed of two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot blended with a tiny dollop of Petit Verdot, and finished at 13.5% alcohol. Juicy notes of creme de cassis, licorice, camphor, smoke and crushed rocks are followed by a rich, unctuously textured, thick, juicy, exceptionally pure, long wine. This beauty will be at its finest in several years and should keep for three decades. Proprietor Francois Pinault and his director, Frederic Engerer, have pulled out all the stops to produce one of the most monumental Latour’s ever made.
The 2005 Forts de Latour (10,000 cases produced) possesses much of the same character as Latour, but sweeter tannins, more obvious and forward fruit, medium to full body, and a more seductive, plusher style, but not the great stature, richness, and architectural precision of its bigger brother. Nevertheless, it is a gorgeous Pauillac that should drink well for two decades or more. Latour is always the most difficult Medoc first-growth to find, largely because the vineyard and production are much smaller than its’ peers and because of the severe selection routinely done by owner Francois Pinault and administrator Frederic Engerer.
Very deep garnet-black colored, this vintage offers a seriously ripe and expressive nose of creme de cassis and dried plum with a savory, meaty, gamey undercurrent. The palate is medium to full-bodied with a good density and firm, grainy tannins plus a refreshing backbone of acid giving lift through the long earthy finish. It’s great to drink now but there’s certainly no rush to drink-up.
The 2000 Les Forts de Latour is a seriously endowed wine with notes of black walnuts, black currants, crushed rock, tobacco and spice box. Full-bodied, luscious but still in need of another 2-3 years to hit full maturity, it certainly can evolve for another 15 or more years, and looks to be slightly richer and longer-lived than I originally predicted. My original ratings appear to have been dead on the money for both of these efforts from Chateau Latour.
A classic second wine that shows outstanding potential, the dark ruby/purple-colored 2002 has notes of cedar wood, black currants, earth, and truffles in a medium to full-bodied, supple-textured, beautifully concentrated style that can be drunk now or cellared for 10-15 years.
The brilliant second wine, the 2006 Les Forts de Latour, a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, possesses a dense ruby/purple color, a beautiful bouquet of asphalt, cassis, cedar, truffles, and earth, and a full-bodied, dense, beautiful style that is similar to a 1996 Pauillac. It will age effortlessly for 15 years. Latour's brilliant manager, Frederic Engerer, has purchased 15 hectares of old vine Grenache and Syrah in the Cotes du Rhone region, the Drome, at a cool-climate elevation. I can't wait to see the first vintage from this Cotes du Rhone project.
A strong effort, this 2008 exhibits a dark ruby/purple color, more minerality than the 2010 and hints of cedarwood, black currants, underbrush and forest floor. This round, generous blend of 66.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33.5% Merlot should easily last for two decades or more.
One of the finest second wines now being made, Les Forts de Latour comes from the same parcel every year. The 2011 is composed of 61.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 38.5% Merlot. Forty-three percent of the Latour production was relegated to this cuvee. Its opaque purple color is accompanied by a big, sweet nose of creme de cassis, underbrush, licorice and incense. Medium to full-bodied, deep, fleshy and already appealing, this 2011 should gain complexity over the next 5-7 years, and last for 15-20. By the way, Latour harvested relatively late for the Medoc, beginning the harvest on September 12 and finishing on September 26.
The outstanding 2007 Les Forts de Latour reveals a touch of graphite and black currant fruit intermixed with an unmistakable minerality. It is a generous, silky textured, medium to full-bodied, evolved, elegant, and pure offering that is ideal for drinking over the next 10-12+ years.