Log in for prices and ordering

Château Latour

Blue-blooded Bordeaux

Based in Pauillac, the epicentre of First Growths in Bordeaux, Château Latour is an estate that can trace its viticultural roots back to the 17th century. Located at the southern edge of the appellation, the vineyard holdings sit at an impressive 92 hectares, with 47 of these comprising the famed L’Enclos vineyard. This plot of prime real estate surrounds the château itself and is just 300 metres from the Gironde Estuary. The soils are rich in clayey gravel at the centre of the site and gravelly sand towards the edges, and its deep-rooted vines (some as old as 100 years) plunge as deep as three metres. 

Key to the Latour style—and what sets it apart from its First Growth Pauillac peers—is the dense, sticky clay, argile gonflante (similar to the soils of Petrus in Pomerol) that ripples deep underneath the gravelly surface. Hélène Génin (technical director at Château Latour) asserts that these pockets of clay in just the right places “contain the secret to the wine’s elegantly muscular power and immense longevity”.  

The Enclos vineyard is the only terroir deemed capable of producing fruit with the required depth, concentration, elegance and refinement for the Château Latour Grand Vin, and consequently is the lone source for this wine. The remaining hectares of vines contribute to Les Forts de Latour—a wine of great status from chosen plots within L’Enclos and other Cru Classé areas of Pauillac—and Le Pauillac de Château Latour, which is made mostly from fruit from the youngest vines. 

Model viticultural practices are in place at Château Latour. Organic certification was awarded in 2018, and biodynamic practices have been used with increasing frequency over the last 10 years.  As one might (and should) expect from such a well-resourced producer, no expense is spared in the vineyard. The talented team, led by Frédéric Engerer, use satellite imagery and vine sensors to monitor vigour in the vineyards. They make picking date decisions based on blind tastings of grapes to mitigate any pre-conceived plot bias. Vines are planted at a density of 10,000 per hectare and, should any plots need to be replanted, they are left fallow for a minimum of five years to allow the soils to regenerate. Horse-drawn ploughing was reintroduced in 2008, there are insect hotels and no herbicides are used. And that’s just in the vineyard. 

Plantings are Cabernet Sauvignon dominant (76%), followed by Merlot (22%) and with the remaining two percent split between Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Each of the 138 plots is harvested separately and hand-picked fruit is placed in small, eight-kilogram bins to minimise bunch damage. The fruit is sorted in two stages in the winery; stage one eliminates leaves and imperfect grapes, while stage two further refines the berry sorting to ensure only the very finest, most pristine fruit makes it to the fermentation stage. Château Latour was one of the first Bordeaux producers to introduce stainless steel vinification back in the 1960s, and this is still the practice today. The wines go through malo and maturation in barrels—all new for the Grand Vin and 50% new for Les Forts—before blending. 

The innovation does not stop in the vineyards and the winery. In 2011, Château Latour caused quite a stir when it withdrew its wines from the En Primeur system, instead choosing to release when the wines are deemed ready to drink—or at least, at the beginning of their often very long-drinking windows. Those timeframes can vary but are usually between eight and 10 years for the Grand Vin and six to eight years for Les Forts. Since 2007, Latour has been using a Prooftag system that provides traceability and authentication for the Grand Vin. Each wine wears a code on the bottle neck, which can be searched on the producer’s website.

The Range

“I think of Latour as a linchpin of Bordeaux insofar that if it suddenly disappeared, then the region would lose its cohesion, bereft of a wine that encapsulates Bordeaux more than any other.” Neal Martin, Vinous

“Under CEO Frédéric Engerer and technical director Hélène Génin, unremitting perfectionism and attention to detail is the order of the day at Château Latour… the objective, above all, rather than subscribing to any particular theoretical approach, is to treat the vineyard holistically, as a system, within and with nature rather than against it.” William Kelley, The Wine Advocate



Primary Region



Technical director: Hélène Génin

CEO: Frédéric Engerer



While you're here