Unexpected result in Lafite vs Latour tasting

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
Post Reply
User avatar
Carlos Delpin
Posts: 1884
Joined: June 13th, 2012, 3:22 am
Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Unexpected result in Lafite vs Latour tasting

#1 Post by Carlos Delpin » December 8th, 2019, 7:31 am

A group of friends got together last Friday afternoon for a tasting to resolve an old dispute. Over many tastings, and across many vintages, opinions had been set and debated over the preference of Chateau Lafite versus Chateau Latour or vice versa. The very generous host of the tasting decided to put the two producers side by side covering the vintages of 1975, 1978, 1982, 1985, 1990, and 1995. He also decided to include other wines from the respective vintages to provide a point of additional reference. The event was held at 1919 restaurant inside the Vanderbilt Hotel in San Juan, PR. The setting, wine service, and food prepared by Chef Cuevas were world class. All wines were served non blind.

First flight

2016 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc
2010 Chateau Pape Clement Blanc

Both wines were delicious in their own blends/styles and really showcased the quality advances made in Bordeaux Blanc. The Chevalier was fresh and aromatic while the Pape Clement was darker and more serious given the 50% semillion component and age. Great start.

Second Flight

1975 Latour
1975 Lafite

Unfortunately the Latour was too advanced and barely drinkable. The Lafite, although a bit better, had also seen better days. No real winner here.

Third Flight

1978 Lafite
1978 Mouton
1978 Latour

The Lafite exploded out of the glass with perfume and lively fruit. Perfect aged claret. The Mouton was solid if a bit lackluster and tired. The Latour had wonderful concentration but a bit clunky and unidimensional. Clear Lafite win.

Fourth Flight

1982 Lafite
1982 Latour
1982 Pichón Lalande
1982 La Conseillante

All four wines were in absolute glorious shape. All four wines were close to if not perfect examples of mature Bordeaux. The surprise of the flight was that both PLL and Conseillante were markedly a step ahead of Lafite and Latour. The Conseillante was sensous and Hedonistic while the PLL was powerful and brainy. The Lafite and Latour were spectacular in their own right and in the table's opinion the Latour had an edge over the Lafite but behind the other 2.

Fifth Flight

1985 Lafite
1985 Latour
1985 Lynch Bates
1985 Cos d'estournel

Another perfect flight. If the 82 vintage showcased intellectual pleasure the 1985 vintage was all about fruit and joy. The wines all had tension, intensity of fruit and hints of seasonings like green pepper, tobacco, and spices. Here again the Lynch and the Cos were a step better. The Lynch had the classic green pepper signature with great acid lift and length. The bottle of Cos was probably the best bottle I've ever tasted from this producer. The Latour was lofty and ethereal but a bit thin and the Lafite had a superb nose but also lacked concentration and focus.

Sixth Flight

1990 Latour
1990 Lafite
1990 La Conseillante
1990 Haut Brion

If the 82 were about intellectual pleasure, and the 85 about Hedonistic pleasure, the 90 provided both in copious amounts. The 90 vintage out shone both 82 and 85 by a clear margin. I would have scored all 4 with 100 points with optimus inter pares to the Haut Brion.

Seventh Flight

1995 Latour
1995 Lafite
1995 Mouton

Will the 95 ever come around? Do they need more time like the 86? Even accepting palate fatigue these wines were closed, tannic, and dry. I am not sure where they are heading. If there is no fruit at age 24, will they ever evolve? No clear winner.

We closed the tasting with a 1975 d'Yquem that was astounding and at the same level of the wines that preceded it.

So in a tasting of Lafite versus Latour the top wines of the tasting were ranked as follows.

1. 1990 Haut Brion
2. 1982 Pichón Lalande
3. 1978 Lafite
4. 1985 Lynch

Go figure. We'll have to schedule a head to head battle another day. Thanks for reading.

User avatar
Kris Patten
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5179
Joined: February 1st, 2009, 6:25 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Unexpected result in Lafite vs Latour tasting

#2 Post by Kris Patten » December 8th, 2019, 8:00 am

Impressive and seconds on most bottles in the pic. Frankly I wouldn't have been surprised if a Lafite or Latour didn't make your top 4 with what wines were added.

Thanks for sharing.

Karl K
Posts: 1247
Joined: October 29th, 2016, 10:01 pm

Re: Unexpected result in Lafite vs Latour tasting

#3 Post by Karl K » December 8th, 2019, 8:02 am

Perfect sort of tasting!

Thanks for sharing!
K a z a k s

User avatar
Paul Jaouen
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4285
Joined: January 30th, 2009, 12:48 pm

Re: Unexpected result in Lafite vs Latour tasting

#4 Post by Paul Jaouen » December 8th, 2019, 8:15 am

Not a big surprise on 82s. PLL has won multiple 82 horizontals that I've attended. Nice tasting!
Paul Jaouen

Joshua Kates
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1458
Joined: October 30th, 2011, 6:31 am

Re: Unexpected result in Lafite vs Latour tasting

#5 Post by Joshua Kates » December 8th, 2019, 8:49 am

Great notes, Carlos,

Thanks! I love the '90's, though they have plenty of time still, and the little '90 Haut Brion I've had I've indeed found very special.
Mark Twain, when asked whether he believed in child baptism, replied: "Believe in it? I've seen it!"

Posts: 13
Joined: November 8th, 2019, 10:45 am

Re: Unexpected result in Lafite vs Latour tasting

#6 Post by DennizE » December 8th, 2019, 9:09 am

Great read! Very interesting notes and results indeed.
D. Ekholm

User avatar
David Glasser
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 7384
Joined: August 16th, 2009, 6:03 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: Unexpected result in Lafite vs Latour tasting

#7 Post by David Glasser » December 8th, 2019, 8:47 pm

Superb tasting and report. I agree with Paul about PLL being among the best of the best in 1982. Some bottles are now on the downslope, but it sounds like you were treated to one still in its glory.

I’m probably an outlier when it comes to first broth preferences. My favorite is usually a Haut Brion, flollowed by Lafite and Margaux before Latour. But those are gross generalizations

Posts: 1470
Joined: August 3rd, 2013, 9:45 am

Re: Unexpected result in Lafite vs Latour tasting

#8 Post by PCLIN » December 9th, 2019, 4:14 am

Thanks for the notes, interesting results indeed but not surprised but the great showings of ‘82 PLL and ‘90 HB tho. But I am surprised by the good showings of ‘82 and ‘90 Conseillante against big boys, one of my fav Pomerols.
Last edited by PCLIN on December 9th, 2019, 4:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
Chiu Lin

User avatar
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 23066
Joined: January 28th, 2010, 5:03 am
Location: Orlando, Florida

Re: Unexpected result in Lafite vs Latour tasting

#9 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » December 9th, 2019, 4:27 am


Thanks for sharing, big guy!

"@lf3rt was clearly raised in an outhouse in the Loire. . . ."

Kenny H (circa 2015)

Post Reply

Return to “Wine Talk”