Château Latour is a 95-hectare vineyard located in the heart of the Médoc, about 50 km from Bordeaux. Premier Grand Cru classé in 1855 in the Pauillac appellation, it ranks at the top of the great wines of Bordeaux. In its quest for constant perfection, the estate produces sublime wines that have lasted through the decades and will continue to flourish.
The first traces of Château Latour date back to 1331 with an authorization to build a fortified tower in the parish of Saint Maubert. Latour became a co-lordship and the land was cultivated in polyculture. A good wine was produced, but the conditions of conservation were still precarious.
Following successive inheritances and marriages, Château Latour was acquired by Alexandre de Ségur, then by his son, Nicolas-Alexandre, nicknamed the "Prince of Vines". Like his father, he enlarged the estate by acquiring new land. During the Revolution, the property managed to keep its integrity and remained in the same family. As successive inheritances multiplied the number of co-owners, they joined together in a Société Civile which, until 1962, was exclusively composed of descendants of the Ségur family. Because of its unique terroir, Château Latour was classified as a Premier Cru in 1855. Over the years, the large number of heirs led to the sale of several shares and new companies became shareholders.
The history of Chateau Latour took a major turn when François Pinault acquired shares in 1993 through his holding company Artemis. Many changes took place under his impetus, aiming to pursue the quest for excellence in the wines produced by the estate. Important works started in 1999 with a total renovation of the cellars, the vat room, the vinification systems and the storage areas allowing a better elaboration of the wines. With a team of 70 people, in the vineyard as well as in the cellar, the men and women of Château Latour possess the same spirit of striving for perfection.
CHÂTEAU LATOUR, AN exceptional terroir
Located in the heart of the Médoc, about 50 km northwest of Bordeaux, Château Latour enjoys a privileged location 300 meters from the Gironde estuary, providing geological complexity and favoring mild climate.
Because of this location, the estate enjoys a double influence: its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, bringing the generous character of an oceanic climate, and its proximity to the estuary, protecting it from the potential cold and allowing the grapes to ripen earlier. Typical of the Medoc climate, which is sometimes capricious, the winters are mild and the summers hot and humid until mid-July, then dry.
The 95 hectares of vines are located on gravelly hilltops of 12 to 16 meters facing the estuary, offering Château Latour an exceptional terroir. The estate owns about 47 hectares around the château, called "l'Enclos". Entirely drained since the 19th century thanks to the clayey gravel, these parcels are destined to the production of the Grand Vin. On the outskirts of the Enclos, we find gravelly sands of more recent origin adapted to Merlot. The outer parcels, of about 40 hectares, are more scattered, gathering a great diversity of soils. The grapes from these plots are used to make the second wine and the youngest vines are used to make the Pauillac.
the know-how of château latour
FROM THE VINE TO THE CELLAR
Throughout the year, winegrowers take care of Château Latour's vineyard, which has about 800,000 vines. Their knowledge and meticulous care allow them to accompany each stage of the vine's cycle in order to produce great wines. This work includes pruning, bending, working the soil and green harvesting to ensure the proper development of the vine.
For several years, the teams have been working on more ecological viticulture methods in order to deepen the practices of cultivation and protection of the vine while respecting the balance between the vine, the soil and the environment. This has allowed Chateau Latour to obtain the certification of organic agriculture from Ecocert. The teams are also trained to apply the principles of biodynamics on the majority of the Enclos. These practices are carried out according to the needs of the vineyard and the climatic conditions of each vintage.
Mid-September marks the beginning of the harvest. Each plot is harvested by the teams according to the maturity of the grapes. The grapes are picked by hand, cut, sorted and transported in crates. The harvest is received in the cellar and then meticulously sorted before being put into vats. It goes through the destemmer and a second sorting before the berries are crushed and pushed into the vats by gravity.
FROM THE CELLAR TO THE BOTTLE
Renovated in 2001, the vat room is composed of 80 stainless steel tanks of different sizes in order to vinify all the berries with homogeneous profiles. Once the harvest is destemmed and crushed, it is sent to the fermentation vats according to the grape variety, the age of the vines, the study of the vineyard and the tasting of the berries. In order to perfectly extract all the potential richness contained in the grapes, the wine stays about three weeks in these thermo-regulated tanks. After the run-offs, the wine is transferred to vats or barrels and malolactic fermentation begins. Once completed, the wine is placed in barrels and begins its maturation phase.
During the blending process, the teams meet regularly to taste all the batches of wine produced and analyze them to determine the best blend that will make the Grand Vin of Château Latour. It is then the turn of the blending of the Forts de Latour and the Pauillac. The wine is aged entirely in French oak barrels, which are renewed for the Grand Vin each year. Until the summer, the wine is aged in the cellar and then is taken down to the cellar for an additional 10 to 13 months. Finally, the wine is clarified with egg whites and undergoes a final racking before bottling.
THE CUVÉES OF CHÂTEAU LATOUR
The Grand Vin, Château Latour, comes from old vines located on the Enclos. These beautiful parcels bring depth, elegance and a beautiful concentration to the wine while expressing the typicity of the terroir, forging the identity of the wine. The blend is composed of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon which gives the wine its expression of color, richness and freshness. It requires time before being tasted, allowing the evolution of the bouquet and the gustatory impressions.
The second wine of the estate, Les Forts de Latour, comes from the periphery of the Enclos, with younger vines (about 40 years old) and some parcels that could be used for the grand vin. Les Forts de Latour is matured with the same care as the grand vin, the only difference being its origin and the proportion of new barrels during maturation (50-60%)
The last cuvée of the Château is Le Pauillac de Château Latour. It is made with the idea of being offered mainly to the restaurant trade and is made from young vines from the less prestigious terroirs of the vineyard. Its blend contains about 45% Merlot, which gives birth to a greedy and fruity wine.