Some like it hot | Château Latour 1949

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The weather in Bordeaux in 1949 was unpredictable and sometimes not even understandable.

On 11 July the thermometers in the Médoc reached 34°C.

But two weeks earlier it had been so cold and miserable that the vineyards experienced some of the worst coulure – grape bunches that haven’t set properly because of up and down weather – in living memory.

July and August were so dry and warm that the grapes began to stop maturing.

On 19th August the Landes Forest, which covered much of the land to the west of Château Latour and other wine producing areas of the Médoc, caught fire, though the fire was restricted to southwest of Bordeaux city, less than ten miles from the wine areas of Pessac and Léognan.

(It didn’t seem to trouble Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion, both of which made exceptional wines in 1949.)

In early September some much-needed rain fell and the harvest was done in the last week of September.

Latour was sold at FF265,000 per tonneau – the traditional unit of pricing and of sale in Bordeaux, with one tonneau equivalent to four 225-litre barriques, or 1,200 bottles in total. In 1947 it was FF130,000.

(Shameless price gouging is not a recent phenomenon in Bordeaux…)

Although the £UK was devalued in 1949 it still bought more francs in 1950 than in 1948. Nonetheless, when Latour 1949 was released it was still more expensive in the UK than the 1947.

Even though the price doubled, it is mind-boggling to see how relatively inexpensive these superlatives wines were. By 1954, Château Latour 1949  was sold at about 19 shillings – 95 pence today! – per bottle “for laying down”.

With 1945 and 1947, this was third of the trio of great post-war vintages that produced fine, rich, and intense red wines – like Latour.

  • Château Latour for sale at Arden Fine Wines
    Château Latour 1949 (1 x 75cl) PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE!
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