THE HISTORY OF GOURGEOUS WINES
Practical outcome: what will you know
amazing fact about the history of one of the best wine producer on the world
Chateau Latour - one of the most significant wineries in the world - is located in Pauillac in Medoc county of Bordeaux.
According to the 1855 Official Classification of Bordeaux Wines, the wines of Chateau Latour, are included in the category of Premier Grand Cru Classe (First Grand Cru). This fact itself places Latour among the best wines in the world.
Four other Premier Grand Cru Classe chateaux are Château Mouton-Rothschile, Château Lafitte-Rothschild, Château Margot and Chateau O-Brion.
Chateau Latour has a very rich history. The very book about its history 700 pages of text – few wineries can boast this quantity of historical records.
Once Latour was a real medieval castle. It was a serious military structure built to protect against pirates.
The castle had two floors and was surrounded by a fortress wall. The first mentions of the castle belong to the year 1378. But the famous Saint-Lambert tower - the drawing of wich is placed on of Chateau Latour labek - was built even earlier, in 1331.
During the Hundred years’ War it change hands lots of time from Britons to French and back and finally the very first castle building was burnt down and destroyed. There’s legend though, that the tower we see there now was built using the original medieval stones.
In the XV and XVI centuries, the owner of Chateau Latour had a fairly large influence in the region. In vassal dependence on Latour were many other estates and families around. By the end of the 16th century, the manor house was surrounded by a park.
As for grapes – it was first mentioned in documents in 1634.
The history of Chateau Latour as a major winery began in 1670 when it was bought by the secretary of the king Louis XIV monsieur De Chavant. Around this time, the estate was planted with grapes and soon Chateau Latour wine started to conquer the Europe. Since 1714 it was sold in the same price category as Chateau Lafite considered then the best Bordeaux wine.
On епру edge of 18 century a new era of Chateau Latour began – it was passed into the possession of the Segur family which by that time owned Chateau Lafite and many more other notable estates in left bank Bordeaux. After some time, Sегgür also acquired also Chateau Mouton and gained unofficial title The Prince of the Vines.
Then the main market for Chateau Latour wines was Britain, it imported about. 80% of them.
Since 18 century Latour started to focus on production technology, its vignerons were in continuous search of new methods could be applied at the winery, many of old ones were modernized. They first cut maceration process to just 5 days and first added sugar – the method now known as Chaptalisation.
In 18 and 19 centuries Chateau changed its owners several times, this did not harm its image though.
More new technologies as well as new concepts were implemented. For example, the ratio of grape varieties was in favor of Cabernet Sauvignon and recently appeared Merlot. Since 1863 first-class wines started to get bottled. Also at this time a new chateau building was built.
An extremely important event took place in 1855 - Chateau Latour got the status of “Premier Cru”. In the wake of success, Latour produces great wines, one after another. This was suddenly and abruptly interrupted in 1880 by an invasion of phylloxera. The catastrophe was so huge that it could fully overcome it only by the end of the 1920s. But even in the most difficult and lean years, the chateau made its best to produce excellent wines, earning a solid reputation as the Bordeaux incarnation.
Big changes were expecting the estate in 1962 with its new owners - the family company S. Pearson and Sons Limited and Harvey’s of Bristol. A small part of the shares still remained with the French families, but the management passed into the hands of the British. The new owners significantly expanded the vineyard area, acquiring new lands and planting grapes on previously unused ones. In 1964, the winery was equipped with stainless steel vats for wine fermentation and a machine comb separator. The use of stainless steel vats for fermentation was at that time a very risky approach, but this technology fully justified itself.
The history of Chateau Latour perfectly demonstrates that one can remain faithful to the traditional quality in the production of the highest-class historical wines and successfully use modern technologies and techniques approved by science and international experience.
Read also great article ‘Chateau Latour Five Decades’
ADDING TO "I AM MY OWN SOMMELIER" PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE BASE
Chateau Latour is the iconic wine form the point of its quality as well its unique history
Technologies and craftmanship of its winemaker allow the estate to produce excelent wines no matter how good or bad was the vintage
Chateau Latour is Bordeaux technological headliner, lots of the best techniques were first inplemented here