Chateau Latour, in the parish of Pauillac, in the Medoc in France, is one of the five 1 st growths and also one of the world’s greatest red wines. It has been famous for many centuries. In 1842 it became a company, to which only members of the family owning it could belong. In 1962 the de Beaumont family, descendants of the Segurs. Who had acquired it through marriage in the 17th century, sold their interest to Lord Cowdray. He took 51%, the firm of John Harvey of Bristol bought 25%, the remaining 24% stayed French. The property gets its name from the squat, rounded tower that stands in the vineyard; this once formed part of a fortification against pirates. The stony vineyard of Latour is particularly rich in quartz: the Marquis de Segur, a former owner, also proprietor of Lafite and Calon-Segur, once wore some of these stones, polished like diamonds, on his coat. Asked by the King about these splendid buttons, he replied ‘They are the diamonds of my estate.
In recent years the property has been much modernised. The installation of stainless-steel fermentation vats on a large scale and the complete rehabilitation of the vineyard and the house has made a great overall improvement even to this magnificent wine. The wine is always of a very noble style. It usually takes a considerable time to mature in good and great years, but the ‘off years’ of Latour are remarkable and can last far beyond what would be supposed. The proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the vineyard is about 80%.