First Growths of Pauillac Bordeaux Tasting

Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 07:30 PM

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The Wines of Bordeaux give tone to the stomach, while leaving the mouth fresh and the head clear.  More than one invalid abandoned by the doctors has been seen to drink the good old wine of Bordeaux and return to health.

--Comments by members of the Jury judging Bordeaux wines submitted under the new 1855 classification at the 1855 World's Fair in Paris, as noted in 1855: A History of the Bordeaux Classification

 

I have been preaching the health benefits of wine for a long time and what better way to get healthy than a comparative tasting between the three first growths of Pauillac: Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Latour.  This is part of our "Once in a lifetime" series of wine tastings. 
These are the three longest lived wines of Bordeaux and we have wines on the table that are in their peak years in terms of drinkability including the best Bordeaux that I have ever had the 1982 Chateau Latour, we had only one bottle of this wine in stock so before someone bought it I thought we should put an event on the calendar to share it with our wine drinking people.  We have two wines from each vintage all of which are outstanding years in Bordeaux and four 100 Point wines from the Wine Advocate on the table. 
Life is short that’s why I always say “Drink the good Stuff First”  and I would be remiss if we did not have at least one first growth only tasting during Bordeaux month here at Wine Watch so here it is!
There are only 12 spaces available for this tasting and the fee is $995 + tax for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com

First Growths of Pauillac Bordeaux Tasting
Saturday, September 21st
7:30pm

1970 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac
Price: $695.00    Sale Price: $590.75  Quantity in Stock: 9
1970 Chateau Latour Pauillac
Price: $935.00    Your Price: $822.80 Quantity in Stock: 1
1982 Chateau Latour Pauillac  (100pts) WA
Price: $2998.00    Sale Price: $2500.00          Quantity in Stock: 1
1982 Chateau Mouton Rothchild Pauillac (100pts) WA
Price: $1850.00    Sale Price: $1475.00          Quantity in Stock: 3
1986 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac
Price: $1250.00    Your Price: $1100.00         Quantity in Stock: 1
1986 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (100pts) WA
Price: $1120.00    Your Price: $985.60           Quantity in Stock: 10
1989 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac
Price: $1200.00    Sale Price: $995.00            Quantity in Stock: 2
1989 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac
Price: $765.00    Your Price: $673.20 Quantity in Stock: 1
1996 Chateau Latour Pauillac
Price: $895.00  None in stock
1996 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac (100pts) WA
Price: $1400.00    Sale Price: $1150.00          Quantity in Stock: 5

Menu
Cheese and Charcuterie Selection
Foie Gras Tourchon with currant jelly and brioche toast
Tuna and Grilled Mushroom Tartar with fresh herb aioli
A5 Waygu Filet Mignon with Pauillac Natural Sauce and Truffle Parmesan Shoestring Fries

There are only 12 seats available for this event.  The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $995 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.

A bit about Chateau Lafite Rothschild:
http://www.interestinwine.co.uk/images/categories/Lafite_Rothschild/lafite_10.jpg

in the opinion of many winelovers and certainly in the opinion of the public at large, Chateau Lafite-Rothschild is the greatest red Bordeaux as well as the greatest red wine vineyard in the world.  The history of the property is certainly as interesting as the wine itself and is too long and complicated to recount in the short space at hand.

Nevertheless, the high points bear repeating.  As with most wines of the Médoc, the fame of Lafite first dates from the eighteenth century.  During the reign of Louis XV, Lafite was owned by the very powerful and wealthy Marquis de Ségur, who also owned Latour, Mouton, and Calon Ségur.  Upon Ségur's death in 1755, the estate became embroiled in a long and complex battle among the heirs.  Over the course of the next one hundred years, it was auctioned twice - the second time in 1868 to the scion of a famous Paris banking family, Baron James de Rothschild.  The selling price was an astounding 4,400,000 francs.  To properly appreciate the significance of this sum, the equally prestigious Mouton-Rothschild had sold a little more than a decade earlier for one quarter of that sum.  The lofty price paid for Lafite was due in no small part to the enormous prestige the property enjoyed as a result of the famous 1855 Grand Cru Classification.  At the Paris Exposition in that year, Bordeaux brokers and merchants compiled a list of the top sixty Médoc chateaux and ranked them in five groups.  Lafite was placed at the very top of the first group - first of the firsts.  Also shortly after the sale to the Rothschilds in 1868, a famous auction of some of the chateau's wonderful old vintages was held.  This was a remarkable event, for the wines fetched hitherto unheard of prices - with the 1811, the great Comet vintage, commanding the highest price of all.  It was without doubt the greatest wine auction that had ever been seen up to that time.  Over the years to the Second World War various Rothschilds ran the chateau, but after the war it seemed that Lafite was just one of many jewels owned by the family - an interest and concern to be visited and supervised when necessary.  The period after 1945 was not one of neglect, but the property certainly did not get the care and attention that cousin Baron Philippe fostered on his beloved Mouton-Rothschild.  As a result many felt that Lafite gradually began to lose its place of preeminence during the postwar years and that the last great Lafite was produced in the 1959 vintage.  In fact, another vintage the equal of the 1959 was not seen for nearly two decades.  That was in 1975, the same year that year that the chateau hired a new winemaker, Jean Crete, formerly of Leoville Las Cases and also engaged the consulting services of Emile Peynaud, the famed University of Bordeaux enologist.  In 1977 a new generation Rothschild, Eric de Rothschild, arrived to oversee the property and become a hands-on proprietor.  The stage was set for Lafite's return to greatness, and the 1975 vintage proved that Lafite still had the stuff.

With nearly 200 acres under vines and an average annual production of 20,000 cases, Lafite is the largest of the first growths both in terms of area and production.  The vineyards lie on slopes in the northern end of the commune of Pauillac.  Across a meadow on its northern border lies the commune of St. Estèphe and the imposing Chinese Gothic architecture of Chateau Cos D'Estournel.  On the Pauillac side, Lafite adjoins Mouton at many points.  The chateau itself is a pleasing compendium of medieval turrets and seventeenth and eighteenth century buildings standing among a row of trees on a hill above the famous Routes des Chateaux.  The chaise (the cellars where the new wine is aged in barrels) are quite impressive, but even more awesome is the magnificent underground cellar where Lafite's unique collection of old wines goes back to the 1797 vintage.  If any one spot on earth is Mecca to the winelover, it is here at Lafite - the one place that connoisseurs the world over must visit once in their lifetime.

1961 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac (Very Top shoulder)
Price: $2500.00    Sale Price: $2100.00         Quantity in Stock: 1

1961 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac (Top shoulder)
Price: $1895.00    Your Price: $1667.60        Quantity in Stock: 1

1971 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac (torn label)
Price: $595.00    Sale Price: $505.75  Quantity in Stock: 4

1985 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac
Price: $1450.00    Sale Price: $995.00           Quantity in Stock: 2

1988 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac
Price: $1150.00    Your Price: $1012.00        Quantity in Stock: 4

1996 Carruades de Lafite Pauillac
Price: $495.00    Your Price: $435.60 Quantity in Stock: 1

1997 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac
Price: $895.00    Your Price: $787.60 Quantity in Stock: 1

1998 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac Magnum
Price: $1950.00    Your Price: $1716.00        Quantity in Stock: 1

2003 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac
Price: $1500.00    Sale Price: $1025.00         Quantity in Stock: 1

2008 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac
Price: $1025.00    Your Price: $902.00          Quantity in Stock: 1

A bit about Chateau Latour:

http://www.bordeauxinvestmentwines.co.uk/images/content/chateau-latour-2.jpg

Since the 14th century vines have been planted at Latour. Towards the end of the 17th century the estate came into the hands of the Segur family, the owners of Calon-Segur and Lafite.  The property was divided during the French Revolution and remained so until 1841 when the family regained control.  The estate remained in family hands for 120 years until 1963; then two English groups purchased 76% of the stock.  The famous tower on the label - La Tour -stands alone at the edge of the vineyard. The tower is all that is left of a fortress built during the middle ages and used to protect the local citizens of Pauillac against pirates.  The chateau on the property is a modest building and belies the majesty of its wines.

There are several factors which contribute to the greatness of Latour; one is the soil.  Of course, every vineyard owner will tell you how important his particular plot of soil is; but the importance of Latour's rests in its unique composition.  50% of it is gravel pebbles the size of eggs!!  The average age of vines at Latour is 33 years, and the vines are allowed to live to maximum age before being uprooted.  It is just this combination of stress placed by the gravelly soils and the old age of the vines which produce very low yield and high quality.  Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for about 75% of the vineyard.  In 1966 the chateau began to make a "second" wine, the Les Forts de Latour.  Les Forts is made from the property's young vines and from vines in what is considered the less desirable portion of the vineyard.  In price and quality it is now considered the equivalent of a second growth.  The wine has all the earmarks of a Latour but with less concentration.

The Latour vineyard covers around 78 hectares of the Pauillac appellation, of which 47 hectares surround the château, these being referred to as L'Enclos. This, the source of the grand vin, extends from the commune boundary with St Julien, where the vines meet its closest neighbor to the south Léoville Las-Cases separated by the Ruisseau de Juillac, which drains into the Gironde. There have been plots added over the 19th century under the control of the Ségur family, which include Comtesse de Lalande and Petit-Batailley, but rarely are they used for the grand vin.  The soil is technically Gunzian gravel, a surface layer just 60 - 100cm deep, beneath which is a subsoil of clay and marl up to 5m, past that is the limestone bedrock of Bordeaux. Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for 80% of the vines, the remainder Merlot (18%), which is planted wherever clay is prominent, then Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot together make up 2%.  The typical blend at Château Latour is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, the balance Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.  These percentages vary naturally according to the vintage conditions. There are approximately 18,000 cases of the grand vin produced each year. The next cuvée in the line-up is Les Forts de Latour, made for the first time in 1966, and typically 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot.  There are approximately 11,000 cases produced each year.  But perhaps the best value and defiinatly the hardest to find of the wines made at Latour is the simple Pauillac de Latour.  This stunningly good wine is based on fruit from younger vines outside L'Enclos. Introduced with the 1973 vintage, this cuvée was only made a few times after that in 1974 and 1987.  This wine became a permanent member of the line-up in 1990.

Masculine in a word best describes Latour.  The wines are full-bodied, firm, virile, and tannic.  Two years after the vintage the other great Pauillacs like Lafite and Mouton will usually show better than Latour, for Latour is rarely accessible at an early age.  However, as time passes, Latour will eventually outlast them and can be counted on to be alive and sound when the others are but a memory.  Any knowledgeable claret buyer knows that Latour is always the best bet at rare wine auctions.  Pre-1900 vintages of Latour have held up remarkably well.  Probably the most comprehensive report on all the vintages of Chateau Latour was published in The Underground WineLetter in February of 1984.  It was a summary of tasting notes over different occasions including the legendary vertical tasting of 86 vintages conducted in San Francisco in 1981.  Vintages as far  back as 1865 and 1870 were in impeccable condition; the 1870 received a perfect (20) score with the comment that it was possibly "the greatest red wine ever."  Over the years Chateau Latour has also been regarded by connoisseurs as being the most consistent property in Bordeaux.  According to David Peppercorn in his epic work, Bordeaux: "One of Latour's outstanding characteristics has always been that it is magnificent in poor and moderate years."  Perhaps other chateaux of the Medoc occasionally rise above Latour in the great years, but none of them have come close in the lesser ones.

The modern day era of Chateau Latour began in 1993 French billionaire François Pinault brought Latour into his ring of luxury business portfolio which was later augmented by Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Christie's auction house and Chateau Grillet.  Although the old vintages are stunning I can't think how good these new wines of Chateau Latour will be in 20-30 years from now.   Since Frederic Engerer has taken control of this estate in the late 1990’s Chateau Latour has been the single most consistent wine made in Bordeaux. 

1937 Chateau Latour Pauillac
Price: $1495.00    Your Price: $1315.60        Quantity in Stock: 3

1959 Chateau Latour Pauillac (high shoulder)
Price: $4500.00    Your Price: $3960.00        Quantity in Stock: 3

1961 Chateau Latour Pauillac
Price: $4950.00    Sale Price: $4250.00         Quantity in Stock: 1

1966 Chateau Latour Pauillac (High shoulder)
Price: $999.75    Your Price: $879.78 Quantity in Stock: 2

1966 Chateau Latour Pauillac (Mid Shoulder)
Price: $620.00    Sale Price: $525.00  Quantity in Stock: 3

1967 Chateau Latour Pauillac
Price: $595.00    Your Price: $523.60 Quantity in Stock: 1

1970 Chateau Latour Pauillac
Price: $995.00    Sale Price: $700.00  Quantity in Stock: 1

2000 Chateau Latour Pauillac
Price: $1500.00    Sale Price: $1229.00         Quantity in Stock: 1

A bit about Chateau Mouton Rothschild:

It is without doubt the most interesting and the most controversial of all the châteaux in Bordeaux; and its former owner, the late Baron Philippe de Rothschild, would have it no other way.  There have been four generations of Rothschilds since the Baron's great grandfather, Nathaniel, bought the château in 1853; but the family did not take much interest in Mouton until young Baron Philippe came to live on the property in 1923 - the first Rothschild to be a live-in proprietor.  It was to signal a new era for Mouton and a new era for Bordeaux, for not only did the Baron Philippe begin to do much to attract the world's attention to the merits of his own wine, he also generated a great deal of interest in the entire Bordeaux region.  After fifty years of hard work, Baron Philippe scored a great personal triumph in 1973.  In that year Mouton was reclassified from a second to a first cru in the elite 1855 Grand Cru Classification, a long-overdue recognition and the first time a wine had ever been upgraded in this controversial and ossified classification.

In 1945 Mouton began the controversial practice of adorning each new vintage with the work of a famous artist (such publicity gimmicks were considered "bad form" among the staid, aristocratic society of Bordeaux.) However, the "label art" today has become something famous in itself (the labels themselves are now collector's items and one must get his original by purchasing a bottle), and the original objections raised have long been forgotten.  Some of the great artists of the 20th century have done work for the labels - Braque, Dali, Chagall, Kandinsky, and Picasso.  Andy Warhol did the 1975, and John Huston, the movie director, painted the label for the legendary 1982.  In addition to presiding over one of the world's great wine estates for some sixty years, Baron Philippe had also been a great patron of the arts.  The château itself is a major tourist attraction in Bordeaux and houses one of the world's great wine museums.  The chai, in which new vintages of Mouton age in shiny barrels, is a breathtaking sight for the winelover.  The great Baron died at his home in Paris in January of 1988, and his funeral was one of the largest ever witnessed in the Médoc - nearly 1500 people attended a grand ceremony at the Château.  Under French law, the dead may not be buried at their estates, but the Rothschild family was granted an exception by the authorities.  The Baron's daughter, the Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, assumed control and management of the Château after her fathers death.

Over the course of the past few years, the Baroness has been actively involved at Mouton, and there was never a doubt that she would continue the legacy established by her father.  Certainly the circumstances could not be more favorable, for Mouton-Rothschild has been on a roll in the 1980's - the château has produced some of the greatest wines in its history and arguably the greatest wines in Bordeaux.

Mouton Rothschild is planted to 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot.  The vineyard is mostly gravel on a subsoil of marl and clay.  Vines are planted 8,000 to 10,000 per hectare.  Average yield per hectare is 35 hectoliters.  Pruning is Guyot Double Medocaine Keep this wine around for 10-15 years, although at that time you may not want to drink it after you check the current sale price. 

 

1937 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac Mid Shoulder
Price: $2363.00    Your Price: $2079.44        Quantity in Stock: 1

1972 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (mid shoulder)
Price: $999.00    Sale Price: $850.00  Quantity in Stock: 10

1973 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (mid shoulder)
Price: $499.00    Your Price: $439.12 Quantity in Stock: 1

1974 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (high neck)(damaged, faded label)
Price: $700.00    Sale Price: $550.00  Quantity in Stock: 1

1979 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac
Price: $765.00    Your Price: $673.20 Quantity in Stock: 1

1982 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (High Shoulder)
Price: $1550.00    Sale Price: $1150.00         Quantity in Stock: 1

1993 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac Magnum
Price: $1705.00    Sale Price: $1450.00         Quantity in Stock: 1

2000 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac
Price: $2750.00    Your Price: $2420.00        Quantity in Stock: 1

2009 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac
Price: $1650.00    Your Price: $1452.00        Quantity in Stock: 1

2013 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Aile d'Argent Blanc
Price: $125.00    Your Price: $110.00 Quantity in Stock: 5

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