Château Latour, one of the four Bordeaux Châteaux to be classified First Growth in 1855, by just about all measurements regarded as one of the finest wines in the world. With a track record that spans centuries, its world class wines, produced in some of the best terroir for Cabernet Sauvignon in the commune of Pauillac on the left bank of the Gironde, are sought after by collectors the world over for their impeccable quality and ability to age and improve for decades. Whereas its neighbor Lafite is renowned for elegance, Latour is prized for power. Latour displays an uncanny combination of deep color; Cabernet-dominated flavors of dark berries, licorice and minerals; the finest oak that money can buy; and great length on the aftertaste. Typically, the blend is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The 190 acre estate is planted to 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The Grand Vin, however, is made exclusively from a 120 acre portion, l'Enclos, which made up the original 1759 domain. Grapes from the remaining acreage go into Latour's second and third wines.
Château Latour is located near the banks of the Gironde river estuary, in the center of the Médoc wine region, 50 kilometers northwest of Bordeaux. Steeped in history, Château Latour was first planted in the fourteenth century, but Latour's reputation stems from the late part of the seventeenth century, when the estate was inherited by Alexandre de Ségur. Under his ownership, Latour flourished, and its wine was exported to thirsty aristocrats in England. In 1855, Latour was rated a First Growth and never looked back, continuing to produce consistently excellent wine throughout its history. The estate remained in the Ségur family until 1963, when the English financial group Pearson became the majority shareholder. In 1989, Allied Lyons acquired a 25% share after they purchased Harvey's of Bristol, but they were soon displaced when François Pinault bought the estate in 1993.
The climate of the Médoc is variable and leaves a different imprint on each vintage. While some Bordeaux estates suffer because of the unpredictable weather, Châteaux Latour's proximity to a large body of water (the Gironde estuary) protects it from early cold spells. The gravelly soil at Latour allows vines to develop deep root systems, and lower layers of marly clay provide much needed water in times of drought.
A team of sixty-six people work in the vineyards and cellars of Château Latour. This is a high number for a Bordeaux estate, but also a testament to the meticulous efforts taken at Latour to produce excellent wine.