The 2012 Latour…wine of the vintage? It has to be a serious contender. In this blind taste-off between the five First Growths, its quality shines through. With exceptional delineation on the nose, it just oozes class with precise black fruit, crushed stone, mint and light sous-bois. The palate is perfectly balanced with a fine line of acidity, as precise as a Swiss watch, gently building to a finish that delivers the structure one expects from a Latour. Sheer class. Tasted blind in Bordeaux.
The 2012 Latour is a blend of 90.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.6% Merlot and 0.2% Petit Verdot. Medium to deep garnet colored, the nose slowly, measuredly emerges with notions of preserved Morello cherries, baked blackcurrants and blackberry compote, giving way to nuances of pencil shavings, unsmoked cigars, Chinese five spice and sandalwood plus ever so subtle hints of cardamom and eucalyptus. Medium-bodied, the palate delivers mouth-coating black and red fruit preserves with a firm, grainy-textured frame and fantastic freshness, finishing with a veritable firework display of lingering spices and minerals. This is a more restrained, relatively elegant vintage of Latour that may not have that “iron fist in a velvet glove” power of the greatest vintages but nonetheless struts its superior terroir and behind-the-scenes savoir faire with impressive panache. It is drinking nicely now with suitably rounded-off, approachable tannins, and the tertiary characters are just beginning to bring some more cerebral elements into the compote of temptingly primary black fruits. But, if you’re looking to drink it in full, flamboyant swing, give it another 5-10 years in bottle and drink it over the next 20-25 years+. Drink 2020 - 2050
A grand vin, the 2012 Latour (90.2% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9.8% Merlot) probably won’t be released to the market for another 7-8 years. Representing only 36% of the crop, it has an opaque ruby/purple color, a beautiful nose of crushed rock and blueberry and blackcurrant fruit, sweet tannin and a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel. The striking purity and intellectually satisfying texture and finish all are indicative of this great first-growth that has overcome all of the challenges of 2012 in the Médoc. It finishes long, rich and convincing. Of course, this isn’t in the league with the great vintages of 2000, 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2010, but it has nothing to be ashamed of. This wine should drink well for 25-30 years, and will probably prove to be one of the longest-lived of the 2012 Médocs. Drink: 2015-2045.
Deep ruby colour. Floral and expansive on the nose, with lots of blue fruit and sweet vanilla. Bold and forward on the palate, the fleshy black fruits and chunky tannins come together to give a perception of great intensity before fresh acidity cuts through the richness. The sweet spice of oak rounds out the fruit and tannin, softening the initial firmness. A fine and compact but long finish. Though young, this should soon be approachable with its expressive and aromatic qualities.
Firm and muscular Latour with silky tannins that are surround by compacted fruit. Very integrated tannins. Bright finish. Long too. It's racy. I prefer the more structured 2011.
This sets out its stall with confidence. Fennel and mandarin peel aromatics, followed by cassis, blackberry, liquorice bud, pencil lead and graphite that maintain grip and momentum through the palate. Tannins remain firm at 10 years old but there is a gourmet feel to the fruit and this is a vintage of Latour that will be ready to drink relatively young. Harvest September 24 to October 16, under rainy conditions that turned the concentration from impenetrable to a more approachable style - an impression I have got every time I have tasted this wine since its release.
Looks a little less blue than Les Forts. Scented and lovely on the nose. Playing the playful card. Dense and rich. Vibrant. Not made to show well at this stage - which may be a good thing. A little tiny bit of green but very fine and confident. Just rather hidden and restrained. Not the butch style of some years. A little short.
Many have called this the best vineyard in the world and the dynamic Director of Chateau Latour, Frédéric Engerer, is determined to make the greatest wine possible. He has the confidence of owner, François Pinault, to do all that it takes to achieve this aim. Production levels have been slashed in recent vintages with only the best parcels of vines now producing grapes for the Grand Vin. In 2012 only 35.5% of total production will go into the Grand Vin, which is made from 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot. This has a huge black colour and viscous texture. A strong cassis nose with hints of smoky bacon, spice and vanilla. On the palate this is one of the few wines of the vintage that is genuinely mouth filling. Big, fat, juicy, polished, it is both concentrated and velvety. Beautiful, classic cassis fruit. Huge but harmonious. Very long finish.
N.B. Will not be sold En Primeur
The nose has brooding black fruited power and the palate has richness and depth of flavour a mailed fist in a velvet glove. Liquorice, chocolate and coffee beans all add to the richness of flavour the powerful mix feels slightly lighter towards the back. The finish is long and expressive. 2020-40.
All of the first growths made very good wines in 2012, especially given the growing season, but Latour was the star turn. What's so impressive about the wine is that the château has allowed the vintage to speak, rather than imposing a style upon it. That's why the wine is so light and poised, with a grace that is almost Pinot Noir-like. Silky, refreshing and aromatic, with subtle notes of red fruits and pomegranate and medium-weight tannins. Very graceful. Drink: 2018-35
The 2012 Latour has a potent bouquet of blackberry, graphite and distinctive tertiary notes [instead of more marine scents observed four years earlier]. Initially, the palate is slightly disjointed on the entry and displays a subtle herbal quality, plus hints of pencil shavings. The 2012 demands a few minutes to really coalesce and achieve the precision and pixelation that have been the hallmark of this Grand Vin in its youth. Layers of black fruit coat the mouth, and a bitter edge lends tension, particularly toward the very persistent finish. Though its release implies, and the rhetoric from the château indicates, that it is ready to drink, if you want my advice, cellar the 2012 for another five or six years to witness it in full flight. It has always been a candidate for wine of the vintage... just have a bit of patience. Drink 2027-2055.
Tasted blind at the 2012 Southwold tasting, the 2012 Latour put in a deeply impressive showing. It has a precise bouquet: graphite-infused black fruit, hints of iodine and a light marine influence—shucked oyster shell and Japanese nori. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, well-judged acidity, quite sensual and harmonious with seductive purity on the finish. This possesses exquisite precision and detail that evinces a wine of genuine class. Of course, perhaps this tasting note is irrelevant for the moment, at least until the Grand Vin is released onto the market. It will be intriguing to re-taste it when it does see the light of day. Tasted January 2012.
Reminiscent of the 2008, the 2012 is a classic Latour, but is neither profoundly concentrated nor potentially one of the greatest efforts from this exceptional terroir. While noble, racy, stylish and medium-bodied, the normal power and density one expects of Latour is missing in this vintage. It is made in a more elegant, softer, lighter style, undoubtedly a smart decision since pushing extraction with potentially less than ideal grapes could have resulted in rustic aromas and flavors. This medium-bodied Latour reveals moderate tannin, but it should be drinkable when released, and last for nearly two decades.
Chateau Latour harvested its Merlot between September 24 and October 4, and most of the crop ended up in Les Forts de Latour and Pauillac. The Cabernet Sauvignon was picked between October 5 and 16, the Cabernet Franc on October 8 (obviously a wet harvest), and the Petit Verdot on October 12. The 2012 Latour, which is off the market as a wine future until the Pinault family and Frederic Engerer agree on when to release it (probably 7-8 years from now), is a blend of 90.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.6% Merlot and the rest a tiny dollop of Petit Verdot. Only 36% of the crop was utilized in the grand vin, which achieved 12.8% natural alcohol.