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Latour 2003

Subregion France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pauillac
Grape VarietyCabernet Sauvignon

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Tasting Notes

My taste suggested that this is one of the all-time great Latours from a ripe vintage, but a style that is lavish while not over-the-top. The 2003 will need to be watched with care, as it seems to be on a relatively fast evolutionary track. Nevertheless, it is a spectacular wine and one of the great Bordeaux of this vintage along with Montrose and Lafite Rothschild. These three wines achieve perfection.

Robert Parker, Hedonists Gazette, February 2016

The 2003 Latour remains a redoubtable First Growth and a testament to its terroir that manifested such a great wine in a challenging growing season. You could argue that it does not disguise the heat of that notorious summer as deftly as the 2003 Montrose since there is still a touch more volatility here than other vintages. But there are gorgeous notes of black cherry, black truffle, cedar and a touch of cooked meat. The palate is full-bodied with saturated tannin. The acidity is very finely tuned considering the season and there is plenty of glycerine towards the sumptuous finish. Maybe it is more a great 2003 than a great Latour, but there are few recent vintages that are so delicious. Tasted at the International Business & Wine Latour dinner at Ten Trinity.

Neal Martin, vinous.com, July 2018

Refined and beautiful. Intense aromas of blackberry, licorice, currant and mineral. Full Bodied with a long, long finish.

James Suckling, Wine Spectator, February 2006

Very deep garnet in color, the 2003 Latour is vibrantly scented of red and black currants, blackberry preserves and Chinese dried plums with nuances of roses, cedar and yeast extract. The palate is beautifully balanced with the generous fruit harmoniously off-set by finely grained, firm tannins and refreshing acidity, finishing long and complex.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, RobertParker.com, May 2012

Dark crimson. Glowing. Lovely depth, smoothness and glamour. This is the business! Long and fresh and wonderfully well balanced. (Average group score: 19)

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, October 2010

2003 Latour placed first overall, out of 100 wines tasted blind, at the 2003 Farr Vintners Blind Tasting held in October 2010.
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Farr Vintners, Farr Vintners 2003 Blind Tasting, October 2010
Michael Schuster, The World of Fine Wine (1), April 2004

Deep black colour. The nose offers vanilla and sweet black fruits in abundance. Absolutely gorgeous. The palate grabs your attention immediately with its decadent roasted character. Jam-packed with blackberries (rather than blackcurrants), plums, dates and raisins. Lots of glycerin and its so ripe and sexy that the tannins are barely noticeable. Seems far more mature than the 2000. I think that this is one of those wines that is going to be irresistable in its youth yet will give wonderful drinking for years to come. Not classic latour, but a real stunner.

Stephen Browett, December 2006
Read more tasting notes...

Administrator Frederic Engerer says the 2003 is ""the sexiest Latour ever made."" He also described it as ""the 1990 without any brettanomyces."" I loved this wine from the barrel and was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a small quantity, enjoying every bottle I have had. A profound example of Chateau Latour, the full-bodied, opulent 2003 is already performing well at age eleven, which is somewhat atypical. The pH is a relatively high 3.8, which also indicates low acidity. The wine is very ripe, but not over-ripe, offers great freshness, and lots of creme de cassis and camphor as well as hints of blackberries and chocolate. Dense, thick and unctuously textured, this staggering Latour is undeniably the most sumptuous, opulent wine made here since the 1982 or 1961. Drink it over the next two decades. Drink: 2014 - 2034

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (214), August 2014
Robert Parker, Hedonists Gazette, May 2007

There are only 10,800 cases (rather than the normal 15,000-20,000) of the 2003 Latour, a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot (13.3% finished alcohol). A prodigious effort, it boasts a saturated purple color as well as a gorgeous perfume of smoke, cedar, creme de cassis, flowers, crushed rocks, and blackberries. Massive and multi-layered, with huge richness and low acidity, it is about as unctuous as a young Latour can be. It could be compared to the 1982, but it may be even more pure, at least at this early stage, than that monumental wine. The level of intensity builds prodigiously in the mouth, and the finish lasts nearly a minute. Disarmingly accessible (although analytically the tannin level is high), I suspect it will ultimately shut down, but it was performing impeccably when I tasted it. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2040+.

What can one say about proprietor Francois Pinault and his manager, Frederic Engerer? A strong argument can be made that in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004, Latour produced the wine of the vintage, although it has plenty of competition in the Northern Medoc in 2003. Moreover, the bargains are the estate’s least expensive cuvee, Pauillac, followed by Les Forts de Latour, Latour’s second wine which continues to increase in quality.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (164), April 2006

Unusual because of its extraordinary opulence, voluptuous texture, and almost over-the-top thickness and richness, the 2003 Latour is somewhat reminiscent of the 1982. This amazingly profound wine (only 10,500 cases made of a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot) has an inky/purple color and a wonderfully sweet, almost exotic nose of black fruits intermixed with some scorched earth, fig, plum, and blackberry liqueur. It is a massive, multi-layered wine, with enormous quantities of glycerin and richness, low acidity, elevated alcohol (13%), and a huge, unctuous texture. It is unusual to find Latour so friendly and accessible with such huge levels of soft, sweet tannin, but the fact is that most of these tannins are concealed by massive layers of fruit and extract. This is truly a compelling Latour, if somewhat atypical. I remember how the 1982 tasted early on, and this wine is built somewhat along those lines, but potentially even richer. The finish just goes on and on, and although I didn’t clock it, the aftertaste lingers well past a minute. This wine will be surprisingly accessible young, but age effortlessly for three to four decades.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (158), April 2005

One of the three greatest young Bordeaux I have ever tasted Chateau Latour’s 2003 is one of the candidates for “wine of the vintage” (Latour’s 2002 is the wine of the vintage in my opinion). This great estate has produced a freakishly rich, concentrated Pauillac revealing no evidence of over-ripeness or too much weight. A blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot, only 53% of the production made it into the 2003 Latour, which tips the scales at 13% alcohol. Manager Frederic Engerer told me that 6% press wine was added to the final blend. The Merlot harvest occurred between September 8 - 13, and the Cabernet Sauvignon between September 22 - 30. This remarkable effort boasts a black/purple color in addition to an extraordinary bouquet of creme de cassis, blackberries, and subtle sweet oak in the background. A massive, multilayered texture inundates the palate with a seamless wealth of glycerin, extract, and richness. Tasters must search especially hard to find the structure and tannin. In that sense, the 2003 is reminiscent of how the 1982 performed at the same age. Tasted next to the undeniably great 2000 Latour, the 2003 came across as almost twice as concentrated, with a fruit presence that had to be tasted to be believed. In fact, I do not believe I have ever tasted a Latour like this. I wonder how the 1961 would have tasted at a similar period? Extraordinarily pure, with a finish that lasted over 70 seconds, this is a tour de force as well as a modern day legend in the making. Sadly, Latour’s small production means that only 10,000 cases will be produced. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2040?

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (152), April 2004

Thick yet elegant, with fantastic ripe tannins and exciting juicy fruit on the finish. This could be 1982 in the re-make but cleaner and classier.

James Suckling, Wine Spectator (April 04), April 2004

As one might expect, this is the wine that seems set for the longest life of all among 2003 reds. Fiercely tense and taut in constitution it is in fact amazingly rich and sweet on the nose, with a hint of smoked meats - certainly an expression of the vintage as well as the estate. Indeed it is quite amazingly sweet on the palate entry with exceptional ripeness, followed by dry, sandy, savoury tannins. Very thick and solid. Round and even smooth and silky on the mid palate - and then extremely dense and chewy by the end. An unusual combination of Latour rigour and 2003 ripeness. Drink 2010-2025. Date tasted 7th April 05.

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, August 2005
Farr Vintners, Southwold Bordeaux Tasting, January 2007
Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.