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Château Latour

The famous winery is next to the commune 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 called La Tour en Saint-Maubert was built near the Gironde built to defend them against attacks in the Hundred Years' War. The tower no longer exists, but around 1620 a round tower called La Tour de Saint-Lambert was built on the estate (left in the picture). The winery name is derived from this, but on the label the old tower is shown. Viticulture had existed here centuries before, but the history of Château Latour only began in the late 17th century. The Latour estate was “only” part of the extensive property of the noble family ségur, This included the forerunners of the wineries Château Lafite-Rothschild (then Château Lafite), with which Château Latour was united until 1760, as well Château Mouton-Rothschild (then Château Mouton).

Château Latour - winery building

The other wineries subsequently passed to other owners, but Château Latour remained in the family until 1963 (descendants were in management until the late 20th century). This year, heirs sold 75% of the shares to British shareholders. The Pearsons group held the majority. The wine trading house Harvey's of Bristol (Allied-Lyons) held 25%. This group then also took over the Pearsons shares in 1989 for the equivalent of 180 million euros. The winery has been completely renovated. Finally, billionaire François bought it in 1994 Pinault (* 1936) for a reported 680 million francs (130 million euros). Due to its status as Premier Cru, Château Latour cannot be sold to foreigners as a “national cultural asset”; that is, an acquirer must be French. The good was at Bordeaux classification 1855 in the elite of the five (then four) best "Premier Cru Classé". The total property encompasses 93 hectares Cabernet Sauvignon (76%), Merlot (22%) and Petit Verdot (2%) are planted. Three red wines or quality classes are produced. They are the Grand Vin, the time wine "Les Forts de Latour" and the third wine "Pauillac de Latour".

The first wine comes exclusively from the walled heart "L'Enclos" with 47 hectares of vines very close to the Gironde, Each sick or old vine is removed individually and replaced with a young plant. There are also occasionally 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 subsoil. It will be 20 to 24 months exclusively in 100% new barriques expanded. At best, the extremely long-lived wine should not be opened before at least 10 to 15 years of storage. The extraordinary thing about these red wine is that for centuries, truly monumental qualities have been produced with great regularity, even in poorer years. outstanding vintages more recently are than 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-year-old vines from L'Enclos, which are harvested and vinified separately. In addition, grapes from three separate parcels outside the "L'Enclos" are used, of which normally none in the Grand Vin received. Furthermore, barrels of the first wine can be added that have not met the high standard of the Grand Vin. The wine is blended on average from 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot and aged in 50% new oak barrels for 18 months. It achieves the quality and the price of a château of the "Deuxième Cru Classé". Since 1990 he has also been subscription (en Primeur) sold. Around 150,000 bottles are produced annually, which corresponds to around a third of the total production. The third wine "Pauillac de Latour" was first produced in 1973 and then in 1974 and 1987. Since the 1990 vintage, it has been vinified annually by young vines from the three plots mentioned above.

Image: Château Latour - © Alain Benoit

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