Latour 2002

Pauillac, First Growth

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Tasting Notes

The 2002 Latour is more backward on the nose, quite floral with rose petal scents infusing the red and black fruit, a marine element that emerges with time in the glass. I could not find any of the Christmas cake aromas that I observed on previous bottles. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannins, grippy in the mouth with a dense and sapid finish. Given the vintage, this is a magnificent wine, probably the finest on the Left Bank, though clearly from large formats such as this it requires more time. Tasted blind from double magnum at 20-year retrospective at the château.

Score: 94

Neal Martin, Maturity: 2025-2055 27 September 2022

The 2002 Latour is a wine that has impressed ever since I first tasted it from barrel and subsequently both in sighted and blind conditions. It offers disarming black fruit laced with tobacco and graphite on the nose, this bottle showing less of the Christmas cake that I remarked in previous bottles. Firm in structure, the 2000 has more charm and vivacity than many of its Left Bank peers this vintage, plenty of cedar and pencil lead notes with a grippy yet detailed finish. You could actually begin broaching this now but it will offer another two decades of drinking pleasure. Tasted blind at a private dinner in Bordeaux.

Score: 94

Neal Martin, Maturity: 2018-2038 01 July 2018

Served blind at the chateau, it is amazing how well this wine performs in blind tastings. There is great clarity on the nose, you can almost smell those 'caillou' in the vineyard, pure black fruits, freshly rolled tobacco, crushed stone and just a faint hint of Xmas cake (must be the time of season!) The palate is well structured with firm tannins, quite masculine even for Latour with cedar and graphite, underpinned by exquisite delineation on the finish. Wonderful. Tasted December 2009.

Score: 95

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate, 01 January 2011

One of the most pleasant surprises in this tasting, the 2002 Latour is just beginning to show the full breadth of its aromatic complexity, but it is also has more than enough depth to drink well for several decades. Tar, graphite, incense and smoke open up in the glass in a Latour that leans towards the more delicate, feminine side of things. Silky tannins add polish and creaminess through to the finish. The 2002 is surprisingly delicious today for a young Latour, but it also has the pedigree and density to age nicely for decades.

Score: 96

Antonio Galloni, Maturity: 2016-2042 01 July 2016

Very dark but the rim is slightly pale. Less obvious than the 2003 on the nose. Strongly mineral and spicy. Succulent on the front palate then lots of tannin on the back. Very chewy and quite ripe (especially for 2002). Very fine and bright fruited. Very dry finish but without enormous depth and fluidity. A slow starter. Quite marked acidity. Very bright fruit. Crystalline.

Score: 18

Jancis Robinson MW, Maturity: 2015-2030 27 April 2010

Red-ruby. Blackcurrant, graphite and minerals on the nose. Sweet, fleshy and dense, with an impeccable sugar/acid balance. Strong mineral tones and firm acids. Finishes long and gripping, with excellent tannic spine and lift. A bit like the 2002 Les Forts de Latour but turned up a notch or two. But not quite as perfumed as the young 2004. (94+ points)

Score: 94

Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar 01 May 2005

Bright ruby-red. Wonderfully pure, quintessential Pauillac aromas of crushed currant, licorice and lead pencil. Then leanish and rather closed in the middle, but with superb precision and grip. Finishes long and perfumed, with great thrust. A strong candidate for the wine of the vintage. This great vineyard appears to have taken maximum advantage of the conditions of this vintage.

Score: 93 - 95

Stephen Tanzer, 01 May 2004

(74% cabernet sauvignon and 25% merlot, with smidgeons of cabernet franc and petit verdot) Full saturated medium ruby. Reticent, slightly medicinal aromas of cassis and bitter chocolate. Big and broad in the mouth; not yet filled in but already displays impressive dimension and class. Slightly cool, very fresh mineral and floral flavors offer enticing inner-mouth perfume. A bit youthfully disjointed and austere today, with the firm acids and salty, gripping tannins not yet completely integrated, but the strength of the wine's raw materials is clear to see. (The length has not yet been constructed, says Engerer, adding that this wine is an unusually high 13% alcohol. Moving from the 2000 to this wine is like going from a very ripe Grands-Echezeaux to a wine from one of Gevrey-Chambertin's colder sites, like Latricieres-Chambertin, added Engerer, who has a passion for Burgundy.)

Score: 92 - 96

Stephen Tanzer, 01 May 2003

The wine of the vintage? There are only 10,000 cases of this extraordinarily rich, dense 2002 that is as powerful as the 2003 (even the alcohol levels are nearly the same, 12.85%) . It is dark ruby/purple to the rim, with notes of English walnuts, crushed rocks, black currants, and forest floor, dense, full-bodied, and opulent, yet classic with spectacular aromatics, marvelous purity, and a full-bodied finish that lasts just over 50+ seconds. Huge richness and the sweetness of the tannin are somewhat deceptive as this wine seems set for a long life. Administrator Frederic Engerer seems to be more pleased with what Latour achieved in 2002 than in any other recent vintage. Hats off to him for an extraordinary accomplishment in a vintage that wouldn’t have been expected to produce the raw materials to achieve something at this level of quality. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2045.

Score: 96

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, Maturity: 2012-2045 01 April 2005

No guts, no glory? If I had to choose today, this would be my pick for the wine of the vintage. It is a colossal, remarkably concentrated, highly extracted, formidably endowed Latour as well as a potential legend in the making. Circa 2003, it will be interesting to see how such recent great Latours as the 2000 and 1996 stand up against the 2002, which will probably never have the "acclaim" of those two vintages. Latour’s administrator, the meticulous Frederic Engerer, told me that yields were a measly 23-24 hectoliters per hectare, and the final blend was 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and dollops of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The pH is remarkably high (3.87), and the natural alcohol (no chaptalization) is over 13%, so this is a surprisingly powerful offering. It demonstrates that those who picked late benefited from the Indian summer. About 51% of the production made it into the grand vin. So what’s it taste like? This is a behemoth that is also extraordinarily pure and elegant. Opaque purple to the rim, it boasts a strikingly intense liquid minerality, creme de cassis, and licorice-scented nose. The wine’s incredible purity, fascinating texture, full-bodied power, and massive display of fruit, extract, and harmony suggest a monumental Latour that will require a considerable amount of time to become drinkable. I do not believe it is as backward as the 2002 Mouton, but certainly it is far less accessible than the 2002 Lafite. The brilliant 2002 Latour is a tour de force from a great estate that has hit all cylinders, producing a surprisingly profound wine in an irregular vintage.

Score: 95 - 98

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, Maturity: 2015-2050+ 01 October 2003

Loads of ripe currants, licorice and toasted oak on the nose. Subtle yet impressive. Full-bodied, with a solid core of ripe fruit and chewy tannins. Big and juicy. Deep midpalate for a 2002. This is the wine of the vintage. A solid, classic Latour that needs bottle age.

Score: 96

James Suckling, Wine Spectator Maturity: 2012+ 31 March 2005