FINE+RARE is delighted to announce the highly-anticipated 2020 release from Château Latour: the 2012 Grand Vin de Château Latour and the 2014 Les Forts de Latour. This is the first time either of the wines have been released, following Latour's exit from the Bordeaux En Primeur system in 2011. The estate now releases its wines only when it believes they have entered into their drinking window.
The Château has the enviable reputation of setting a precedent for a Bordeaux vintage, regularly producing the finest wine of the year. This has never been truer than in 2012, when Latour produced the highest scoring wine of the vintage from the Médoc according to The Wine Advocate. The 2012 is in line with the lowest priced vintages of Château Latour currently in the marketplace post-2000. Given its rating from the critics and its perfect provenance, this is a wine for Latour fans not to miss.
This "King of Kings" is situated on what is arguably the best terroir on the Left Bank, built upon trademark Pauillac gravel and clay subsoil and perfectly positioned to reap the benefits of the Gironde breeze. These excellent natural conditions found in the world renowned L’Enclos vineyard are married to rigorous production methods in the winery, resulting in some of Bordeaux’s most consistent and spectacular wines.
Latour produces wines of haunting precision, power and finesse - with few finer expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon (accounting for 80% of the vineyard), to be found anywhere in the world.
Although classed as a second wine, Les Forts de Latour often outperforms the Grand Vins of neighbouring classified growths in Pauillac. The wine comes from parcels on the edge of the L’Enclos vineyard as well as the vineyards of Piñada, Petit Batailley and St Anne all within the Cru Classé area of Pauillac. It is treated with the same meticulous care as Château Latour but typically sees less new oak (between 50-60%) making it approachable at a younger age. Speaking with Chateau Latour yesterday, they described the 2014 as one for the purists, incredibly precise, mouthwatering and drinking beautifully now.
The 2012 Latour is a blend of 90.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.6% Merlot and 0.2% Petit Verdot. Medium to deep garnet colored, the nose slowly, measuredly emerges with notions of preserved Morello cherries, baked blackcurrants and blackberry compote, giving way to nuances of pencil shavings, unsmoked cigars, Chinese five spice and sandalwood plus ever so subtle hints of cardamom and eucalyptus. Medium-bodied, the palate delivers mouth-coating black and red fruit preserves with a firm, grainy-textured frame and fantastic freshness, finishing with a veritable firework display of lingering spices and minerals. This is a more restrained, relatively elegant vintage of Latour that may not have that “iron fist in a velvet glove” power of the greatest vintages but nonetheless struts its superior terroir and behind-the-scenes savoir faire with impressive panache. It is drinking nicely now with suitably rounded-off, approachable tannins, and the tertiary characters are just beginning to bring some more cerebral elements into the compote of temptingly primary black fruits. But, if you’re looking to drink it in full, flamboyant swing, give it another 5-10 years in bottle and drink it over the next 20-25 years+.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (May 2001) Score: 96/100
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"The 2012 Latour has a potent bouquet of blackberry, graphite and distinctive tertiary notes [instead of more marine scents observed four years earlier]. Initially, the palate is slightly disjointed on the entry and displays a subtle herbal quality, plus hints of pencil shavings. The 2012 demands a few minutes to really coalesce and achieve the precision and pixelation that have been the hallmark of this Grand Vin in its youth. Layers of black fruit coat the mouth, and a bitter edge lends tension, particularly toward the very persistent finish. Though its release implies, and the rhetoric from the château indicates, that it is ready to drink, if you want my advice, cellar the 2012 for another five or six years to witness it in full flight. It has always been a candidate for wine of the vintage... just have a bit of patience."
96 POINTS - NEAL MARTIN, VINOUS
The 2014 Forts de Latour has turned out beautifully. Pliant, supple and open-knit, the wine is super-expressive, even at this early stage. There is lovely depth to the dark red cherry, plum and leather nuances, all in the vivid, articulate style that is found in the best 2014s. Best of all, the 2014 Forts de Latour will drink well with minimal cellaring.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous (May 2001) Score: 93/100 Drink 2022-2038
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"Highly enjoyable, has gorgeous elegance and freshness, and is showing better right now than the 2015 Pauillac de Latour. Extremely fresh, hedgerow and cassis bud backed up by richer seams of liquorice and blackberry. Not yet ready but you can see that with a stiff wind and a good carafe, you could get there in the next few years. Tight black spice uncurls to show carefully-delivered smoked cedar on the finish. Drinking Window 2022 – 2038"
93 POINTS - JANE ANSON, DECANTER