Les Forts de Latour
Classification: Second Wine of Château Latour
Les Fort de Latour is the second wine of the First Growth Château Latour and is actually made mainly from separate parcels of vines outside the Latour vineyard of L'Enclos although sometimes the same grapes used for the First Growth are included in the blend. These smaller plots – totalling about 29 acres - were acquired during the 19th century by the Ségur family and include Comtesse de Lalande and Petit Batailley.
Château Latour lies in the south eastern tip of Pauillac, bordering Saint Julien, just a few yards away from the Gironde Estuary. Latour dates back to the 1300s and takes its name from a fortified tower built during the Hundred Years War which probably stood on the south east side of the vineyard, near the Juillac river. The tower of Saint Lambert (originally named Saint Maubert) no longer exists and the tower now standing at the Château is a pigeon house built in the 1620s.
Château Latour's wine making history began in the 17th century – although vines have existed there since the 14th century – under the auspices of the Ségur family, who also owned Châteaux Lafite, Mouton and Calon Ségur. In 1963, the heirs of the Marquis de Ségur sold 75% of the Château Latour shares to the British companies Harveys of Bristol and the Pearson Group. During this period Latour became the first of the First Growths to completely modernize their production. Allied Lyons purchased Latour in 1989 but in 1993 the Château finally returned to French ownership under François Pinault.
The grapes grown for Les Forts de Latour are 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot and the vines are less than 12 years old. The wine is made in 50 % new and 1 year old barrels and 50 % vintage barrels and is aged for 18 months.
Les Forts de Latour wines are lush, soft and rich with hints of blueberries, plum, red peppers, smoke, vanilla and coffee. The tannins are elegant and the wines are rounded and smooth making the wines very approachable when young.
Owner: François Pinault
Château Website: www.chateau-latour.com
Oenologist: J Boissenot