2003 Latour to have similar fate as the 1990?

I’ve read some recent tasting notes on the 1990 Latour and surprisingly, it hasn’t been very flattering. Some say they have been experiencing a dramatic difference from just a few years ago; some even went as far as saying it’s past its prime and going downhill.

So, this led me to think about the extremely scorching vintage of 2003. What do you guys think about the age-ability/longevity of the 2003 Latour? Will it perhaps, have a similar fate as the 1990? Or will it be more in line to the 1996, 2000 and 2005, and age effortlessly for decades to come.

Many thanks!



I’m personally worried about some 03s but I can’t comment specifically on 03 Latour having never tasted it. Several which showed simply marvelously in their youth have shed a lot of that glycerin led joie-de-vivre quality and they seemed to have hollowed out a touch without tannic grip to sheppard their maturation. In a vintage like 03, the watchful eye of the vigneron was important as well as a little bit of luck avoiding scorching temperatures/picking at the right date.

But I think the most important thing to recognize is that each vintage has a different balancing of the three elements of aging: phenolic ripeness, composition and structure of tannins, acidity. depending on how each of those scales rest in a wine, I think the proper drinking plateau shifts markedly (also depends on grape varietal, naturally). Not every wine follows the same evolution so don’t get caught holding the bag. Keep informed on notes and of course taste!

For my own education, can you point me in the direction of where people have described issues with the 1990? All the 1990’s (no Latour, though) I’ve had have been outstanding and none seem to be heading over the hill. I think they’re just hitting their stride.


Chris, the recent notes and perspectives have been through the RP board. Here are some clips if that’s what you’re looking for:

(hopefully, I’m not violating anything on this board for pasting text from another)

Person A:
Been sitting on a case since release and watching Parker sour on the wine over the past several years (92 pts in recent Hedoniste’s Gazzette post) so curiosity got the better of me and I cracked the case last night and opened a bottle. I decanted and let it sit for about 3 hours before consuming it alongside a Lobel’s rack of lamb. I was hopeful that I would be able to disagree with Parker as I did on the only other wine I can recall falling from grace in the same manner, the '82 Cheval Blanc which has been brilliant (although more advanced than its first-growth brethren) the last two times tasted scoring between 97-99 pts for me.

“Lovely Latour nose of cigar box, black fruits and roasted walnuts. Lighter-bodied than I expected but quite elegant and smooth with nice balance. Good complexity with notes of fine tobacco and roasted nuts. Still young with a quiet mid-palate and slightly astringent tannins on the finish.” 91 points

So I didn’t want to agree with Parker but based on this bottle, I’m afraid I do. I just don’t find the normal depth and power of a Latour that would suggest further blossoming down the road. Not certainly compared to the '82 I had recently which blows this away and not certainly compared to other much better and bigger wines from the '90 vintage like Margaux, Haut Brion, Pichon Baron, Angelus, etc.

I would love to hear from other board members on their recent experience with this controverial wine.

Person B:
In our big 1990 Bordeaux tasting in Hong Kong, Latour was not even in the Top 10 by anyone’s account and that’s the collectors who put money into it who voted after tasting it blind…many were disappointed, but hey the wine doesn’t hold up…end of story…over-rated is the simply explanation…

Person C:
This has been an old topic—and I’m afraid that I downgraded this wine a long time back too. It just seemed to shed fruit and lose depth and go tertiary remarkably fast.

It just goes to prove that we never know for sure about wine—because in its youth, this was massive and amazing. It hasn’t, to me, fulfilled its promise.

Person D:
I agree that 90 Latour does not have the concentration of the other top 1990s or a top Latour and probably will not age as long as those wines either. However, on the plus side it is a very complex, intellectual and elegant wine that is drinking well today.

I don’t think every great wine has to be a massive, dense monster. Many great Pomerols are very elegant wines. La Conseillante for one is rarely a massive wine and yet it is still a fantastic bottle of wine. It all depends on what you are looking for.

Personally, I think 1990 Latour is more of a 94-95 point bottle of wine and one I would be happy to own and drink if it were closer to $150-$200 a bottle. Unfortunately with the first growth premium, it is a terrible deal in today’s market. I sold all of mine 18 months ago.

I think the issue with the 1990 is that given the quality of the vintage and Parker’s original hype (I think it was like a 98-100) everyone thought he wine was going to be a “legend in the making”. I had it in the mid 90s a few times and thought it was fantastic. I’ve had it a few times in the 2000s and wasn’t as asimpressed. But that is a lot of time between tastings and I am not looking at my notes. Further, I was a lot more impressed with labels and Parker scores in the mid 90s than I am today. And, maybe my palate has changes…maybe I’ve succumbed to the dark side of the anti-flavor elite. Shutting down? Bottle variation? Who knows. I don’t own any so I’m not that concerned…though I would happily render an opinion with anyone that wants to open a bottle…


Thanks for that, gents!

I’ve had such good success with the 1990’s I’ve tasted that it just shocks me that Latour would head downhill like this relative to many other wines from the vintage, but it sure looks to turning into a consistent theme when talking about the 90 Latour.

I just recently had the 03 Latour and found it to be outstanding, but I can’t offer any insight on it’s aging potential other than to say it appears at this time to have years ahead of it. Whether that’s 10 years or 50 years, I can’t say.


This is Latour guys - drinking a wine 15-20 years before it hits the ultimate prime - you are going to have variable bottles - storage conditions have more to do with drinkability than the actual wine -

ANYBODY who purchased the 1990 Latour should have the patience (and courage) to bring it to the ultimate maturity - that means that unless you are less than 50 years of age - you “ain’t” gonna see it - it’s that monumental of a wine - but still a freakin’ baby -

I am a bit worried about the 2003’s as well - many of the smaller chateaux are getting almost pruny/raisony on the palate - which doesn’t bode well for the future - but I’ve never seen a vintage like '03 - and that’s going back at least 30 years - I think the '04s are going to outshine the bulk of them over the next 25-30 years -

And I would start drinking up any Right Bank 2003’s outside of the big boys -

FWIW, I have had 1990 Latour twice and been pretty blown away, and I am not really a fan of Latour. Clearly Herr Squires who think it is sliding must know more about wine than me, so you can ignore me. That said, I would also argue patience, lots of patience on the 2003 Latour. BTW, in general I am finding a lot of 2003’s to be pretty closed right now. I seriously doubt that many are crashing and certainly not the Latour.

Wine is to be enjoyed - if it tastes good young - then drink it. 90 for me was a vintage to drink young - mine are all gone. I suspect I will drink my 03s long before my 05s. Hope I live long enough to enjoy the 05s.