January 2004, Score: 19
Deep, deep opaque colour. An intensity of dark black berry fruits. In the palate this wine is all about intensity and masculinity. Hints of dark black chocolate, with notes of blueberry and dark berries. This is a big brooding wine, with extraordinary weight and power, but beautifully in keeping with a feeling of richness and natural concentration. This has a feeling of true class and the life and freshness on the finish provide an additional layer of quality and complexity. A potentially great wine in the making.
Deep dense opaque, relatively closed on the nose, but there is a real feeling of dark dense brooding fruits coming through. In the palate one is immediately hit by both the extraordinary structure and power of this wine and yet also a feeling of extraordinary harmony. This is balance personified, and one has a feeling of a great wine in the making, superbly integrated between the intensity of tannic structure, with a natural mass of fruit, but most importantly a glorious freshness. This has masses and masses of potential and the length just goes on forever. An exceptional wine in the making.
The 2000 Latour (a relatively abundant 14,000 cases compared to what they produced in 2009, 2008, or 2005) is “packed and stacked.” The extremely rich, black/purple color to the rim is followed by a wine with some subtle smoke, loads of minerals, a hint of vanilla, and plenty of creme de cassis as well as roasted meat and a slight scorched earth character. Broad, savory, and rich, the wine seems to be about 5 years away from full maturity and should drink well for at least 40-50 more years. A great effort, probably eclipsed only by 2003 and 2009. My original ratings appear to have been dead on the money for both of these efforts from Chateau Latour.
There are only 14,000 cases (only 48% of the crop made it into the grand vin) of the 2000, which flirts with perfection. Truly great stuff, it reveals perfect equilibrium, great finesse, yet colossal size, with a thickness and density that rival the brilliant 1996. This saturated black ruby/purple colored wine seems almost discreet on first inspection, but with aeration, notes of vanilla, exceptionally pure, mineral-infused creme de cassis, and earth emerge. Full-bodied and tannic, it should come close to representing perfection. Latour’s 2000 is hard to compare with previous vintages. It obviously does not have the opulence of the 1990 and 1982, yet there is an extraordinary purity, delineation, seamlessness, and freshness to this wine that sets it apart from previous vintages. In any event, it is prodigious, with at least five decades of evolution ahead of it. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2050.
Deep garnet in color, the 2000 Latour has aromas of kirsch, creme de cassis and dried mulberries with nuances of leather, incense, salami and fertile loam. The palate is just starting to mature into a wonderfully satiny texture, with layer upon layer of berry preserve, baking spice and earth notes resulting in a wine of incredible poise. Lisa Perrotti Brown MW
Spice and opulence on top of vigour. Very, very fresh, frank fruit lurks beneath inky structure with quite a bit of expensive oak in evidence. Very marked acidity (Frederic Engerer reports that it is an extraordinary level, more than 4 g/l in 2000) and tannins. Quite a different structure from traditional Latour with powerful attack and maybe not quite as much hidden in reserve. The nose is surprisingly similar to Lafite. Very rich and velvety and haunting. So powerful it almost stings the eyes. Lots of alcohol. Stains the inside of the glass. Rather L’Eglise-Clinet in style. All the way through. Thick and dense. Slightly short. Oak on the finish. Lots there. Drink 2008-2025
77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot; 48% of the harvest in the grand vin. 52 hl/ha in total. Splendid colour. Quite closed on the nose. This is a big wine but the tannins are very ripe and succulent. The structure is hidden. Full and austere. Quite tannic. Vigorous. Aspects of chocolate as well as underlying minerality. Very good acidity. Splendidly classy Cabernet fruit. Real finesse. Lovely finish. Not quite the intensity of Margaux at the end but very fine indeed nevertheless. From 2012.
It is a common misconception that Château Latour was named after its cream-coloured tower – a 17th century edifice that served as a dovecote. The original tower that gave its name to this exemplary property was built in the 15th century as a watchtower to fend off invading pirates during the Hundred Years War. Unfortunately, it has long been eroded away. It can be considered the King of the First Growths, having the extraordinary power, structure and presence.
Pauillac, Red Bordeaux
Due south of St Estèphe lies the appellation of Pauillac, the king of Left Bank communes. It is home to three first growths as well as a plethora of other classified growths. Pauillac’s renowned well-draining, gravelly soils enable its dominant grape Cabernet Sauvignon to reach fantastic heights of complexity and concentration. As a result, Pauilac’s wines tend to be full-bodied with compact tannins and good freshness. Its aromatics are often what one associates with classic Bordeaux: pencil shavings, black currant and occasional mint. Some of the most famous châteaux of the commune are Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild, Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande and Lynch Bages.