Bordeaux: my ongoing drinking fetish, the ultimate wine in terms of structure, power, and complexity. Nothing grips like great red Bordeaux. With this in mind, it is time to reveal my latest love from the wine region I most often associate with greatness: Château Latour-Martillac, a grand vin from the Pessac-Léognan appellation exhibiting everything I love about the appellations of Graves. First, some information from the Wine Doctor, one of the preeminent wine bloggers. The name “Latour” is, of course, derived from the 12th Century stone tower which stands in front of the chateau, the chai or wine cellars, and the surrounding vineyards. Red and white vines both lie on Pyrrenean gravel, the common terroir of this region, with 33 hectares devoted to red plantings including 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, and 9 hectares reserved for white grapes including 55% Semillon, 40% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Muscadelle, with an average age of 30-40 years for all the vines.
Such terroir, along with improved winemaking techniques in recent years, results in wines with intensity and wonderful balance. The 2004 Château Latour-Martillac, comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and which received some mixed reviews in early tastings, has bloomed into a wine I would recommend for any table over the next 10 years. I found it to be a glorious dark ruby in the glass, with a highly perfumed nose full of ripe black fruits, cassis, violets, hints of smoke, and dried herbs. Over time it opened up in the glass, and emitted aromas of figs and stony earth. In the mouth, more blackcurrants and cassis paired to chocolate and silky tannins. Powerful, yet harmonious and balanced; far more velvet glove than iron here. Superb. $29 for a half-bottle.