Classification: First Growth
Château Latour lies in the south eastern tip of Pauillac, bordering Saint Julien, just a few yards away from the Gironde Estuary. Latour dates back to the 1300s and takes its name from a fortified tower built during the Hundred Years War which probably stood on the south east side of the vineyard, near the Juillac river. The tower of Saint Lambert (originally named Saint Maubert) no longer exists and the tower now standing at the Château is a pigeon house built in the 1620s.
Château Latour's wine making history began in the 17th century – although vines have existed there since the 14th century – under the auspices of the Ségur family, who also owned Châteaux Lafite, Mouton and Calon Ségur. In 1963, the heirs of the Marquis de Ségur sold 75% of the Château Latour shares to the British companies Harveys of Bristol and the Pearson Group. During this period Latour became the first of the First Growths to completely modernize their production. Allied Lyons purchased Latour in 1989 but in 1993 the Château finally returned to French ownership under François Pinault.
The vineyards of Château Latour span 192 acres at the heart of the estate and are called L'Enclos. The L'Enclos vineyard is bounded by 2 streams and the meadows lying beside the river and the soils are gravels covering a clay and marl subsoil and limestone bedrock. The vines neighbour the vineyards of Châteaux Leoville Las Cases and Haut Bages Liberal. The the grapes grown are 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.
The wines of Château Latour are often considered to be the quintessential claret and are elegant, intense and smooth. The high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon give a rich tannic backbone to the wine which allows it great longevity. The wines should be cellared well and age for years. They have notes of black berries, cedar, black currants, vanilla, pepper, spices, minerals and nuts. They are well balanced, rounded and have a velvety, rich mouth feel.
Owner: François Pinault
Château Website: www.chateau-latour.com
Oeonologist: J Boissenot