2010 Les Forts de Latour



Size Availability? price? Qty
£1,945.00
£974.00
£487.00

Average critic rating : 93.94 points

97

97

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. Feb 2013, www.erobertparker.com

93-95

93-95

A blend of 72.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25.5% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot, 14.3% alcohol and representing 40% of the production. It has a glorious bouquet with stupendous delineation: blackberry, cedar, mint and a touch of pot pourri. The palate has a tannic entry, the Cabernet Sauvignon is very pronounced with cedar, tobacco and pencil lead. Very classic and very pure, symmetrical towards the finish. Great focus and length. Superb. Mar 2011, www.erobertparker.com

94-95

94-95

This is hyper fine, with beautiful tannins that are incredibly integrated. Full and super intense. Licorice and currants and violets. Splendid. 72.5 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 25.5 percent Merlot, and 2 percent Petit Verdot. www.jamessuckling.com

93-96

93-96

This comes off as almost sweet, thanks to gentle ripeness and friendly plum sauce, raspberry and cherry compote notes, all backed by an energy that's in reserve. There's latent acidity rippling through the finish, where briar, pastis and graphite lurk as well. Really pure. A noticeable step up from the Pauillac. James Molesworth, www.winespectator.com

18

18

72.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25.5% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot. 40% of production. Very, very dark purple. Scented and supple on the nose! Oddly enough this seems lighter than one might expect from this vintage and name – has it absorbed all the lighter cuvées? Really quite luscious and sweet, despite its IPT of 87! Very rich for Forts. Very flattering and winning. The open face of Latour. A bit sweeter than usual – very much the open face. Less classic Latour than usual. 14.3%. www.jancisrobinson.com

18

18

Slightly smoky nose, great expression of rich, vigorous fruit, superb freshness and structure. Steven Spurrier, www.decanter.com, Drink: 2020-35

90-93

90-93

Les Forts de Latour is produced from 72.5 Cabernet Sauvignon, 25.5 Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. This deeply colored, earth, oak, cassis and tobacco scented wine offers concentration, freshness, blackberry and chocolate flavors in the finish. This wine shares a family resemblance with its big brother, Chateau Latour. www.thewinecellarinsider.com

90-92

90-92

The deep ruby 2010 Fort de Latour has aromas of plums, fresh blackberries, juicy blueberries and cedar, echoed on the palate but lurking behind a wall of tannins. This wine has good length and depth, but is very closed and backward at the moment, and will need at least 7-8 more years before the tannins soften and the fruit comes to the fore. www.asianpalate.com



Graphs indicate market price trends as calculated by FINE+RARE’s internal market making system and are for guidance only. E&OE.

Chart showing (to 07/12/2016) market price for 12x75cl standard case:

Les Forts de Latour 2010
-£209.00     (-9.7%) Latest price:  £1,945.00
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Les Forts de Latour: The Importance

Château Latour is without question one of the world’s finest and most important wines. Robert Parker describes it as: “a First Growth operating on all cylinders, producing absolutely riveting wines of great richness and intensity, which are increasingly selling at the level of famous works of art.” A view echoed by Jeff Leve of The Wine Cellar Insider, who says “Château Latour is like no other Bordeaux wine. It is in a unique class of its own.”

 

Les Forts de Latour was the brainchild of Jean-Paul Gardère, a Medocian that Jancis Robinson credits with being the “saviour of Latour.” The aim was to produce a second growth quality wine. The Oxford Companion to Wine suggests that that it has actually gone a step further, saying that although “there is no absolute agreement about which properties qualify as super seconds”, Les Forts de Latour has “been nominated at one time or another.”

 

Produced in smaller quantities than the Grand Vin, many consider Les Forts de Latour to be Château Latour’s second wine. However, as Jancis Robinson says: “Les Forts de Latour is not the second wine of Ch Latour, but another wine entirely from very different, distinct and disparate parcels.” What makes it so important though, is that stylistically it is very similar to the Grand Vin, but at around one third of the price. As Robert Parker says: “The character of Forts de Latour […] is astonishingly similar to Latour itself, only lighter and quicker to mature. Les Forts de Latour is certainly the finest of the second labels.”

 

What cannot be contested is that scores awarded by the critics for this wine are far more akin to those of a Grand Vin than a second wine.


Les Forts de Latour: The Insight

In the estate’s own words: “Les Forts de Latour receives the same meticulous care as the Grand Vin, both in the vineyard and the winery.” This is important as Antonio Galloni praises their “total commitment to detail.” The only difference is that Les Forts contains a higher proportion of Merlot (around 25-30%, with the rest being predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon and a small splash of Petit Verdot) and is aged in only 50% new oak, rather than 100% for the Grand Vin.

 

The bulk of the grapes that go into Les Forts de Latour come from three plots on the west side of the road that runs between St Julien and Pauillac. These are called Comtesse de Lalande, Petit Batailly and St Anne, have an average age of around 40 years and have been owned by the estate for over 100 years. The name Les Forts de Latour actually comes from a plot within the famous l’Enclos vineyard, which went organic in 2015 and is used predominantly for the Grand Vin. However, Frédéric Engerer – President of Château Latour – alludes to grapes from l’Enclos occasionally being used in Les Forts de Latour.

 

Château Latour withdrew from the En Primeur/Futures system after 2011, instead choosing to release its wines when it deems that they are approaching their drinking window. Having said that, Latour’s wines are tasted – and almost inevitably highly rated – by the critics at En Primeur week each year, but there is now an extended period of anticipation before the eventual release. From the perspective of Les Forts de Latour, this wine sells at comparable prices to the second wines of other First Growths, but with the addition of years of careful cellaring at the château’s expense effectively included.


Les Forts de Latour: The Background

The powerful draw of Latour is wonderfully demonstrated by its history. The estate was bought in 1994 by a Paris businessman called François Pinault, for no other reason than that it was his favourite wine. As Robert Parker puts it “Pinault has pushed Latour to even greater heights.” In 2007 Frédéric Engerer and Hélène Génin renovated the cellars into a modern masterpiece fitting of their great wines. This team and their new set up have produced legendary wines in vintages like 2009 and 2010, and many more are expected.

 

Although we have focussed here on Les Forts de Latour, it is also worth considering Pauillac de Château Latour. Latour were the first Bordeaux estate to produce a third wine and Robert Parker describes it as follows: “There is not much made, but the Pauillac (their third wine) makes a mockery of most generic AOC offerings. For shrewd consumers looking for the taste of Latour at a fraction of the price, this is a wine to seek out.”
 



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