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The wine of the vintage? There are only 10,000 cases of this extraordinarily rich, dense 2002 that is as powerful as the 2003 (even the alcohol levels are nearly the same, 12.85%) . It is dark ruby/purple to the rim, with notes of English walnuts, crushed rocks, black currants, and forest floor, dense, full-bodied, and opulent, yet classic with spectacular aromatics, marvelous purity, and a full-bodied finish that lasts just over 50+ seconds. Huge richness and the sweetness of the tannin are somewhat deceptive as this wine seems set for a long life. Administrator Frederic Engerer seems to be more pleased with what Latour achieved in 2002 than in any other recent vintage. Hats off to him for an extraordinary accomplishment in a vintage that wouldn’t have been expected to produce the raw materials to achieve something at this level of quality. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2045.
No guts, no glory? If I had to choose today, this would be my pick for the wine of the vintage. It is a colossal, remarkably concentrated, highly extracted, formidably endowed Latour as well as a potential legend in the making. Circa 2003, it will be interesting to see how such recent great Latours as the 2000 and 1996 stand up against the 2002, which will probably never have the “acclaim” of those two vintages. Latour’s administrator, the meticulous Frederic Engerer, told me that yields were a measly 23-24 hectoliters per hectare, and the final blend was 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and dollops of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The pH is remarkably high (3.87), and the natural alcohol (no chaptalization) is over 13%, so this is a surprisingly powerful offering. It demonstrates that those who picked late benefited from the Indian summer. About 51% of the production made it into the grand vin. So what’s it taste like? This is a behemoth that is also extraordinarily pure and elegant. Opaque purple to the rim, it boasts a strikingly intense liquid minerality, creme de cassis, and licorice-scented nose. The wine’s incredible purity, fascinating texture, full-bodied power, and massive display of fruit, extract, and harmony suggest a monumental Latour that will require a considerable amount of time to become drinkable. I do not believe it is as backward as the 2002 Mouton, but certainly it is far less accessible than the 2002 Lafite. The brilliant 2002 Latour is a tour de force from a great estate that has hit all cylinders, producing a surprisingly profound wine in an irregular vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2050+
The 2002 Latour is a wine that has impressed ever since I first tasted it from barrel and subsequently both in sighted and blind conditions. It offers disarming black fruit laced with tobacco and graphite on the nose, this bottle showing less of the "Christmas cake" that I remarked in previous bottles. Firm in structure, the 2000 has more charm and vivacity than many of its Left Bank peers this vintage, plenty of cedar and pencil lead notes with a grippy yet detailed finish. You could actually begin broaching this now but it will offer another two decades of drinking pleasure. Tasted blind at a private dinner in Bordeaux.
Served blind at the chateau, it is amazing how well this wine performs in blind tastings. There is great clarity on the nose, you can almost smell those “caillou” in the vineyard, pure black fruits, freshly rolled tobacco, crushed stone and just a faint hint of Xmas cake (must be the time of season!) The palate is well structured with firm tannins, quite masculine even for Latour with cedar and graphite, underpinned by exquisite delineation on the finish. Wonderful.
Tasted blind at Farr's 2002 Bordeaux tasting. A great showing. Wonderful lift on the nose, very generous compared to some of the other First Growths with notes of blackberry, raspberry leaf, hot bricks and cedar, gaining intensity all the time in the glass. The palate is firm on the entry with bold tannins, ebullient black fruits laced with cedar and graphite, leading to a convincing, tannic finish. This is really coming in to its own. Tasted October 2009.
Loads of ripe currants, licorice and toasted oak on the nose. Subtle yet impressive. Full-bodied, with a solid core of ripe fruit and chewy tannins. Big and juicy. Deep midpalate for the vintage. A sold, classic Latour that needs bottle age.
Drink 2011-16 Very rich and sweet at first, with hints of cumin on the palate and then notably dry tannins on the finish. Not much fun at present.