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Château Latour

The famous winery is located near the town of Saint-Lambert in the area Pauillac in the Médoc (Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux). Towards the end of the 14th century, a fortified complex with a fortress tower named La Tour en Saint-Maubert near the Gironde built to defend against attacks in the Hundred Years War. The tower no longer exists, but around 1620 a round tower named La Tour de Saint-Lambert was built on the estate (in the picture on the left). From this derives the winery name, but on the label is the old tower pictured. Viticulture existed here centuries before, but the history of Château Latour began only in the late 17th century. The Latour estate was "only" part of the extensive property of the noble family ségur, These included, among others, the precursors of the wineries Château Lafite-Rothschild (then Château Lafite), with the Château Latour was united until 1760, as well Château Mouton-Rothschild (then Château Mouton).

Château Latour - winery building

The other wineries went to other owners in the sequence, but Château Latour remained until 1963 in the family (descendants were represented until the end of the 20th century in management). This year, heirs sold 75% of the shares in UK shareholders. The Pearsons group held the majority. The wine shop Harvey's of Bristol (Allied-Lyons) held 25%. This group then took over in 1989, the Pearsons shares for the equivalent of 180 million euros. The winery was renovated from the ground up. Finally, it acquired in 1994, the billionaire François Pinault (* 1936) to circulated 680 million francs (130 million euros). Due to his status as Premier Cru, Château Latour may not be sold to foreigners as a "National Cultural Property"; that is, an acquirer must be French. The estate was at the Bordeaux classification 1855 into the elite of the five (then four) best "Premier Cru Classé" ranked. The total possession covers 93 hectares, which with Cabernet Sauvignon (76%), Merlot (22%) and Petit Verdot (2%) are planted. Three red wines or quality classes are produced. That's the one Grand Vin, the time wine "Les Forts de Latour" and the third wine "Pauillac de Latour".

The first wine comes exclusively from the walled by a wall heart "L'Enclos" with 47 hectares of vineyards very close to the Gironde, Each sick or too old vine is removed individually and replaced with a young plant. Occasionally there are also over 100-year-olds vines, The quality and longevity of the red wine are based among other things on the unique terroir with gravel on the surface and loamy ground. He will spend 20 to 24 months exclusively in 100% new barriques expanded. The extremely durable wine should at best not be opened before at least 10 to 15 years of storage. The extraordinary thing about these red wine is that for centuries even in worse years with great regularity truly monumental qualities are produced. outstanding vintages More recently, the Wine of the century titled 1961, and 1962, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2003 and 2005. These are among the most expensive wines France or the world.

The grapes for the second wine "Les Forts des Latour" come from young, less than twelve years old vines of L'Enclos, which are harvested separately and vinified. In addition, grapes from three separate plots outside of the "L'Enclos" are used, of which nothing is normally in the Grand Vin received. Furthermore, even barrels of the first wine can be added, which did not meet the high standard of the Grand Vin. The wine is blended on average from 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot and aged for 18 months in 50% new oak barrels. He achieves the quality and also the price of a Châteaux of the "Deuxième Cru Classé". Since 1990 he is also per subscription (en Primeur) sold. Every year, around 150,000 bottles are produced, which corresponds to around one third of total production. The third wine "Pauillac de Latour" was first produced in 1973 and then in 1974 and 1987. Since the year 1990 it is annually vinified by young vines of the three plots mentioned above.

Image: Château Latour - © Alain Benoit

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