The mildew did not spare most of the region's wine growing, including the Medoc and Chateau Latour. The precocity of the terroir, due to its privileged microclimate, induced the appearance of the disease's first symptoms in the beginning of May, which did not have any bad effects on the rest of the vegetative cycle. That precocity was the result of a scorching and wet weather.
In June, the weather improved and the rainfall showed below seasonal average. In August, the rainfall was half the average. Therefore, the second half of the vegetative cycle took place under a very dry climate, slowing down the vegetation and thwarting the development of the mildew in the spring.
Flowering took place under a mild and wet weather. Along with damages caused by the mildew, the oldest plots of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot suffered from flower abortion and "millerandage".
The weather in July and August was extremely favorable to achieving a rarely complex grape constitution and the top temperatures were beneficial to a progressive maturity : the maximum temperature was 35 degrees C. September was similar to August. A dry weather, until the day before grape harvest, contributed to improve the maturity of the grapes. On the 19th of September, right before harvest, 35mm of rainfall were beneficial to the grapes by removing impurities. At the end of the month, we recorded occasional rain showers and storms but the end of harvesting took place under a favorable weather. Once the first vinifications were completed, we could confirm the extraordinary concentration of the berries that was first noticed during the maturity controls. The color is dark and deep and the wines have a powerful and harmonious structure. Right before harvesting, it seemed that the Cabernet's skins were firm and slightly crushing, containing a sweet juice and a fine acidity. The first tasting revealed dense structures and the tannin's quality seemed to be better than that of the 1996 or 1990 vintages. The acidity levels (between 3,7 and 4,2 g/l H2SO4) are higher than those of the latest vintages. Quality : Exceptional year Ageing : 50 % new barrels, 50 % one vintage barrels, for 18 months. Grape varieties : Cabernet, Merlot. The exact proportion of grape varieties will vary slightly from year to year depending on the quantity of demoted Grand Vin. Average production : 150,000 bottles, that is to say 37 % of the production.
Wine SpectatorSuper enticing aromas of crushed raspberries, Indian spices and hints of vanilla. Full-bodied, with a refined and tight tannin structure and a long, refreshing finish. A beauty. Second wine of Latour. Best Les Forts in years. Best after 2009. 11,665 cases made.