This article appears courtesy of PrimeCellar Asia

Customers have asked me this question over and over again for a few decades now; if you could choose just one wine to drink on your last day of life and last dinner what would it be? My answer is any vintage of Ch. Latour.

During my almost 40 years in the wine business I have been blessed to visit, taste and enjoy many of the world’s greatest wines. Some of my most memorable have been 1982 Cheval Blanc, 1982 and 1986 Mouton Rothschild, 1986 Ch. Margaux, 1982 Pichon Comtesse de Lalande  and the entire line of 1985 DRC wines. These are all legendary wines that I would love to drink on my last day, but because of my experience with the great wines of Ch. Latour, Latour trumps them all. At a Ch. Latour dinner in San Francisco in one evening we enjoyed 1985, 82, 70, 61, 59, 58 and 1945. That tasting alone is a life changer!

We have a close relationship with Ch. Latour and its passionate director Mr. Frederic Engerer and an invitation to dinner there is always a great and humbling experience because Mr. Engerer always makes you work hard and taste blind. Over the years he has regularly exposed us to the greatness of Latour by pouring us blind, vintages like 1967, 1971, 1976,  1980 and 1984, all difficult and so called off vintages of which our team promptly guessed were good vintages, missing every wine. While clearly humbling us, these wines expressed the greatness of the old vines in the 47 hectare block of vines known as “L’Enclos” and the great terrior of this ancient vineyard.

At a chateaux dinner in 2007 we were poured 9 wines blind and we had to guess the wine and the vintage featuring Forts de Latour, Ch. Latour, Ch. Lafite and Mouton Rothschild, Ch. Margaux, Haut Brion, Ausone, Cheval Blanc and Petrus. I fared pretty well in this tasting only mixing up Mouton and Lafite and the Petrus and Cheval Blanc; the wines were great but no one correctly guessed the vintage and we all had two guesses, it was 1978, the miracle vintage saved by great weather very late in the growing season. I was a bit upset with myself because 1978 is the year that I started my day job at K&L. Mr. Engerer is not always impressed at a lucky guess but more interested in your thought process.

Fast forward to last April of this year and yet another dinner, with many of the same wines showing fantastically, and once again no one at the table guessed the vintage of 1975. 1975 has always been a controversial vintage with very hot summer weather thickening up the skins and producing powerful wines. Many wondered if the fruit would live long enough waiting for the tannins to soften, these wines coming directly from the underground cellar at Latour clearly had and were just beautiful!

Finally there was one glass on the table with the cheese course; one of our team members said “this might be Ralph’s vintage 1955” the boss replied “no its too good to be 55” it was indeed 1955 Ch. Latour and indeed a great wine and a great way to end the evening or the last supper. Thanks Frederic!

Quick word on 2015 Bordeaux and its looking good! From Vintner Sean Allison at Ch. L’Avocat in the commune of Cerons ….

Dear Ralph, The harvest is looking very good at this stage. Everyone is happy but nervous as we all know that these don't come along every year and the final ripening phase is crucial. We can say the leaves are perfect, grapes are in perfect condition and the bouts of rain received in July were necessary to put some equilibrium back into the season and restart the maturity process that was blocking due to extreme dryness and heat.

Cheers and Toujours Bordeaux!
Ralph Sands


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