Tasting Brilliance Among The Clouds
Up in Genting Highlands, the cooling temperatures become a big advantage, especially in the tasting of a legendary First Growth Bordeaux like Chateau Latour – where its appreciation occurs in similar climes to that of France. On a recent Monday evening, the swish Ltitude lounge inside of Genting Club was transformed into a beautiful vista of wine glasses and silverware, bathed by an amber glow.
In here, the stage was set for representatives of Chateau Latour and its distributor – 1855 Merchants – to present a thoughtfully curated selection of its coveted Grand Vin and second wine; Forts de Latour. These vintages were matched to a delicious six-course dinner menu by the culinary team at Ltitude. A speciality for the occasion was the appearance of the Miyazaki Goldbar, a pinnacle cut of wagyu which regularly beats Kobe and Matsusaka at competitions in Japan.
The intimate occasion kicked off with an introduction by Jackie Loh, director of 1855, who welcomed the guests, before handing it over to Jean Garandeau, Chateau Latour’s Commercial and Marketing Director who gave an insight into the storied Chateau Latour, one which grows out of the Medoc region in the Paulliac appellation. “The soil and subsoil here is what makes the wines so special, this piece of land, with its combination of gravel and clay, gives it an unmistakable style, complexity and capacity to age." Garandeau adds: “on this estate of 92 hectares, we treat each vine like little bonsai, taking care of them individually using organic viticultural practices."
In preparation for this, the wines have been double decanted over five hours, to develop its signature style, precision and purity. The meal began with a tasting of the Forts de Latour 2012 (RM1,450), a late vintage with a fruity, ripe nose and a juicy palate of spice, a wine which will continue to flourish for the next ten yers. Meanwhile, the Forts de Latour 2010 (RM1,450) showcased a complex nose of red berries, with rich tannins, which paired admirably with a goma salad and the ensuing lobster bisque.
Rufus Beazley, brand ambassador and also regional sales and marketing manager for Chateau Latour further elucidated on the heritage of the legendary chateau – now under the leadership of Francois Pinault, the estate’s owner. “It was first mentioned in 1331, just before the Hundred Years’ War, and was established firstly as a military fort at the estuary to spot English ships." This contributed to the maritime bouquets and a suave mouthfeel of the Grand Vin de Chateau Latour 2011 (RM4,000), paired with the pan-seared foie gras. The Gran Vin de Chateau Latour 2008 (RM4,300) on the other hand, offered more dark fruit and minerality, what Beazley calls, “a baby which will evolve and become more complex as its tannins soften."
The aging ability of Chatea Latour’s wines were recently proven when an 1865 vintage was uncorked and tasted. “It was drinking very well and had developed many pleasurable elements in its evolution," Garandeau says. The pork belly with crushed herb potatoes would then become the backdrop to the Grand Vin de Chateau Latour 2006 (RM4,300), displaying a lively, plump velvetiness. Also on show was the Grand Vin de Chateau Latour 2005 ( RM6,500), which is remembered as a tour de force in a historically dry and sunny year which contributed to an outstanding vintage of powerful intensity, silky tannins and ripe fruits.
Of course, the evening’s coup de grace was the Grand Vin de Chateau Latour 1996 (RM7,000), a vintage which was birthed during a warm period in May that year which resulted in an “explosion" in growth. Fine weather in late August and cool nights facilitated a gradual ripening in the style of typical ocean climates and the harvest was perfectly balance, very ripe grapes comparable to 1990. Its complex notes of cedar and spicy black fruits segued into a heady mix of velvety, aromatic, fleshy and architecturally precise palate, with a long finish – a vintage which dovetailed with the intense umami and buttery mouthfeel of the Miyazaki Goldbar. Finally a mille feuille of crepes, strawberries, chocolate mousse and vanilla ice-cream capped the night’s sensory journey with a sweet note.