One advantage of having a sizeable crew here this year is that we can cover much more ground. Conflicting appointments between Latour and Le Pin resulted in The Antique Wine Company needing to be in Pauillac and Pomerol at the same time, so I tasted at Chateau Latour.
Once again Frederic Engerer has fashioned some fabulous wines in 2010. The third wine, simply called Pauillac is predictably the least complex of the trio and has a higher percentage of Merlot in it – 53% versus 47% Cabernet Sauvignon. As a result, the wine was very accessible, with easy tannins and sweet, jammy black fruit. 89 points. For a third wine it is truly excellent. However, it is not for sale En Primeur. You will have to wait until the wine is in bottle in order to purchase it.
Above: Plowing the biodynamic (experimental/test) parcel at Chateau Latour
Les Forts de Latour was a considerable step up in stature. This wine really has its own identity and is easily the quality of a good Second Growth. Indeed, the philosophy at Latour is not necessarily to make a second wine that is more accessible than the Grand Vin. The approach is to make the best possible Les Forts - in its own right.
The 2010 result was a powerful, dense Les Forts that was a little bit austere compared to Lafite’s Carruades. There is a very high percentage of Cabernet in the wine and it was muscular and tannic with good primary cassis fruit and no lack of acidity. This is a wine built for the long term. 93 points.
As for Latour itself, this was also a prodigious vin de garde with high alcohol, compact, ripe tannins and really expressive, layered, black fruits and minerals. Made from a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, the balance here is brilliantly judged and there was not the slightest hint of oak. Equally, this was not as immediately appealing as Lafite or perhaps as open as Haut-Brion. But for those who love a great, classical Latour (one that expertly expresses its terroir), it will not disappoint. 96 points.
Below: Jing Dong, of our London and Hong Kong offices, taking careful tasting notes at Chateau Latour
From Latour, I took the team back to Pomerol and to the Union des Grands Crus tasting. Having heard Stephen enthuse about both Vieux Chateaux Certan and Le Pin, I was keen to see what the rest of Pomerol had to offer.
In general, I was extremely impressed by these wines which backed up Stephen’s initial positive assessment. Although some of the wines we tasted didn’t quite have the terroirs of Le Pin and VCC, it is clear that Pomerol in general had done very well in 2010.
The pick of my bunch were Chateau Clinet (95) and Chateau Croix de Gay (95) which outpointed both Chateau La Conseillante (94) and Chateau Gazin (91). I felt that the latter two were clearly good but lacked the near perfect concentration and depth of Petit Village and VCC.
Also quite good was Chateau Beauregard (94) which seems to be punching above its weight with the 2010. Sadly, Chateau La Pointe was a little on the lighter side although the 2005 we tasted at lunch was much better - weighty, impressive and delicious.
Over the next few days we’ll also be publishing a full re-cap of our week in Bordeaux, so check back here frequently.
Post by Julien Froger
(Julien was previously Director of AWC’s Bordeaux Office and currently based at AWC’s Hong Kong office).