When I taste young Bordeaux from top estates such as Château Latour, I often wonder which could be the next 1990, 1982 or 1961. The later three vintages at Latour are some of the greatest red wines ever produced, and they certainly are reference points for the château itself. See my blog from Friday for my thoughts and tasting notes on those wines.
It was a part of a tasting/dinner for about three dozen wine lovers laid on by the château and Farr Vintners, the London-based wine merchant specializing in top château wines. The first part of the event, which was held at the Berkeley Hotel, was a blind tasting of the six most recently bottled vintages from Latour including 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, and 2000. I already wrote how impressed I was with the 2005 and 2000. They are perfect, or as near perfect modern reds as you can get. I thought that the 2000 resembled the layered and powerful 1982 when it was young while the 2005 was more like the sleek, racy and sexy 1990.
Here are my notes for the six Latours. There was also a Les Forts thrown in for good measure. They were served to the group blind and in the following order:
2004: I had forgotten how outstanding this wine was. It’s just a baby now and needs another 10 years of bottle age to come into its own. Aromas of chocolate, vanilla, raspberry and blackberries follow through to a full-bodied wine with a dense palate and firm yet silky tannins. This is beautiful and racy. 95 points unofficially.
2005 Les Forts de Latour: This is the second wine of Latour, and I have always been impressed with it since I first tasted it in spring of 2006, from barrel. It’s very aromatic with currants, minerals, and light vanilla character that turn to plums and berries Full-bodied, with juicy fruit and round, velvety tannins. Long and voluptuous. Try it after 2014. 93 points unofficially.
2001: I am a great fan of the 2001 Bordeaux vintage, particularly Right Bank wines, but the Latour is a pretty and surprisingly open first growth at this stage. I also tasted the wine a couple of weeks ago in New York and Las Vegas during the Grand Tour. It has blackberry, cedar, and cigar box aromas that are starting to show a mature wine bouquet. Full and soft-textured on the palate, it delivers plenty of berry, date and mushroom flavors. This will continue to improve with age but why wait? 93 points unofficially.
2002: I always had a slight preference for 2002 over 2001. This wine is still very young and fresh and requires more bottle time. It shows cedar, tobacco and chocolate aromas that follow through to a full body, with silky tannins that are firm and tight. This is dense and rich. Best after 2013. 94 points unofficially.
2000: This is a long distance runner of a wine that sprints at the end. It starts off slow and continuous with subtle aromas of currants, raspberries, chocolate, vanilla and light chocolate. The fruit character is pure and rich on the palate with the chocolate always creeping through. It’s full-bodied, with very dense and rich tannins. Layers of the stuff. It’s very tannic still but those plentyiful tannins will see it through a very, very long life. After about two hours in the glass, it started to show its true greatness. 100 points unofficially.
2003: There is a reserved opulence to this wine. Like so many 2003s, it shows a roasted, spicy fruit from the extremely hot and sunny growing season. The aromas verge on exotic fruit. Full-bodied, with dense and rich tannins and a long, long finish. A muscular yet flamboyant wine. Give it ten more years of bottle age. 98 points unofficially.
2005: Dark ruby color with a stupendous nose of crushed raspberries, blackberries, prunes and minerals that follow through to a full, dense and gloriously fruity palate. It is wonderfully textured, with voluptuously velvety tannins that touch every millimeter of your palate. Opulent might be an understatement to describe this wine. Needs 10 to 15 years to come around. 99+ points unofficially.
As I noted last week, the 2005 was the group’s favorite wine of the young bottles by a long shot, followed by the 2003 and 2000, respectively. Regardless, all three years are clearly modern classics for Latour and the wine world at large. Whether they actually are better than the 1990, 1982 or 1961 may be up to our children to decide ...
Mike Pederson — Mission Viejo — May 12, 2008 11:38pm ET
Kirk R Grant — Ellsworth, ME — May 13, 2008 1:37am ET
Jimmy Hwang — Atlanta , GA — May 13, 2008 11:56am ET
Matt Scott — Honolulu HI — May 13, 2008 1:05pm ET
Karen Hayes — Hilton Head SC — May 13, 2008 1:08pm ET
James Suckling — — May 13, 2008 1:29pm ET
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