2010 Chateau Les Forts de Latour

Year: 2010
Appellation: Pauillac
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 95
Wine Advocate: 97
Vinous Media: 90
James Suckling: 96
Wine Enthusiast: 94--Jeff Leve: 94
Red Wine
Pre-Order
Price :
$279.95

"A solid, briary, grippy, tarry Pauillac, with a sappy edge to the kirsch, blackberry, plum skin and steeped fig notes, liberally laced with anise and tar. Shows good energy through the finish, with a cassis bush note echoing. Best from 2017 through 2035. –JM" (WS)

"Bizarre as it may sound, the 2010 Les Forts de Latour is also the finest I have ever tasted from this selection, which comes from specific vineyards, not really so much a second wine as just another wine from estate holdings. A blend of 72.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27.5% Merlot that represents 40% of the production, this astonishing wine hit 14.3% natural alcohol. Extremely ripe and rich, it reminds me of the 1982 on steroids (and that wine is still drinking great 30 years after the vintage). Sensational notes of graphite, crushed rocks, black fruits, camphor and damp forest notes are present in this expansive, savory, full-throttle wine, which is better than many vintages of the great Latour itself from the past. (That may be a heretical statement, but it’s the truth as I see it.) This wine needs a good 5-6 years of cellaring and should age for three decades at minimum, given the fact that the 1982 is in terrific form and wasn’t this concentrated or prodigious.

There is no denying the outrage and recriminations over the decision by the Pinault family and their administrator, Frederic Engerer, to pull Latour off the futures market next year. However, you can still buy these 2010s, although the first two wines are not likely to be released until they have more maturity, which makes sense from my perspective. Perhaps Latour may have offended a few loyal customers who were buying wines as futures, but they are trying to curtail all the interim speculation that occurs with great vintages of their wines (although only God knows what a great vintage of future Latour will bring at seven or eight years after the harvest). As a set of wines, the 2010s may be the Pinaults’ and Engerer’s greatest achievements to date. Of course, I suspect the other first-growth families won’t want to hear that, nor will most of the negociants in Bordeaux, but it’s just the way things are. Frederic Engerer, by no means the most modest of administrators at the first growths, thinks it would be virtually impossible to produce a wine better than this, and he may well be correct. If they gave out Academy Awards for great performances in wine, the Pinaults and Engerer would certainly fetch a few in 2010. P.S. Just so you don’t worry, Engerer offered up the 2009 next to the 2010 to see if I thought it was still a 100-point wine, and yes, ladies and gentlemen, it still is." (WA)

"Deep red. Sweet red cherry, cassis, cedar and graphite on the showy nose. Sweet and chewy in the mouth, with red fruit liqueur and Oriental spice elements carrying through on the tactile, long finish. Much better than the Pauillac, which is the estate's third wine. " (VM)

"Aromas of currants, blueberries and blackberries with a dark chocolate undertone. Perfumes and beautiful. Full body, with velvety tannins that are fine-tuned and tentative. It lasts for minutes. Gorgeous fruit and richness. Perhaps the greatest Les Fort ever? Try in 2018." (JS)

"Powerful, yet beautiful and smoothly structured. It has ripe, rich fruits, spice and sweet acidity. As a contrast, there is a dense core of tannins where the wine shows some severity and youth. — R.V. (5/1/2013)" (WE)

"Coffee, oak, earth, blackberry and licorice, the wine is dense, concentrated and lush. There has a strong Pauillac character, with stunning intensity and purity of fruit. With the exception of 1982 and 1990 Latour, this is better than any vintage of Latour between 1967 and 1994. Wow! 94 points - Tasted May 8, 2013" (JL)