Tasting Notes Latour 2010
The aromas of flowers such as roses, violets and lilacs jump from the glass then turn to dark berries such as blueberries and blackberries. It's full-bodied, with velvety tannins and dense and intense with a chocolate, berry and currant character. This is juicy and rich with wood still showing a bit, but it's all coming together wonderfully. Muscular yet toned. Another perfect wine like the 2010. Try in 2022.
Tasted at the chateau, my sample was decanted for almost three hours. After the fireworks on the nose of the Les Forts de Latour, the Grand Vin comes as a shock. You have to readjust your mindset – this is subtle, understated, brooding Latour. Leaving it to one side to open up, it gradually unfurls to reveal very precise black fruits and minerals. It is not as immediate as say, Margaux or Lafite, but draws you in to its charms. The aromatics are misleading. The palate is incredibly intense with mouth-gripping tannins even although the IPT is actually less than the Les Forts de Latour. It offers unbelievably intensity, an almost brutal Latour at the moment that will need 15-20 years in bottle before it becomes approachable. This will rank alongside legends such as the 1961 and 1982 – but it is a wine for the next generation, not mine. Tasted November 2012.
One of the perfect wines of the vintage, Frederic Engerer challenged me when I tasted the 2010 Latour at the estate, asking, “If you rate the 2009 one hundred, then how can this not be higher?” Well, the scoring system stops at 100, (and has for 34 years,) and will continue for as long as I continue to write about wine. Nevertheless, this blend of 90.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.5% Merlot, and .5% Petit Verdot hit 14.4% natural alcohol and represents a tiny 36% of their entire production. The pH is about 3.6, which is normal compared to the 3.8 pH of the 2009, that wine being slightly lower in alcohol, hence the combination that makes it more flamboyant and accessible. The 2010 is a liquid skyscraper in the mouth, building layers upon layers of extravagant, if not over-the-top richness with its hints of subtle charcoal, truffle, blackberry, cassis, espresso and notes of toast and graphite. Full-bodied, with wonderfully sweet tannin, it is a mind-boggling, prodigious achievement that should hit its prime in about 15 years, and last for 50 to 100. 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.