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Latour ’02 Dips To Four-Year Low As Older Bordeaux Sought

Published on Jun 3 2014 9:20 AM in Drinks

Latour ’02 Dips To Four-Year Low As Older Bordeaux Sought

Three cases of 2002 Chateau Latour, a first-growth wine estate in the Pauillac district, sold for £3,250 ($5,445) each, the lowest level in four years and another sign that buyers are more interested in older Bordeaux.

The sale yesterday on Liv-ex was 14% below the vintage’s 2014 high in January and February of £3,800 and took the wine, from vineyards on the left bank of the Gironde estuary, to its lowest since May 2010, according to data on the London-based market’s Cellar Watch website. 

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index tracking top Bordeaux wines has declined for 13 of the past 14 months, after falling 3% last year and 10% in 2012. The index has dropped 6% this year as collectors, deterred by prices of recent vintages, have sought older wine and diversified outside the region.

There is “market weakness and poor sentiment towards Bordeaux, and particularly left-bank Bordeaux,” Miles Davis, a partner at London-based Wine Asset Managers LLP, which has $20 million under management, wrote in a recent blog.

As evidence of interest in older vintages, six magnums of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1959 tied for top lot at a Christie’s sale in New York last month, fetching $58,800, while a case of Latour 1995 sold for £3,750 on Liv-ex on May 22, almost matching the £3,800 price for a similar case in December 2012.

The Latour sale took the 2002 vintage 33% below the peak at which it traded in 2011, when Chinese appetite for Bordeaux first growths was at its height. The wine has more than quadrupled from its £680 level of April 2003, in the wine’s early trading on the Liv-ex market.

Francois Pinault

The 2002 Latour is among the estate’s three cheapest vintages of the last 10 available years, up to and including the 2011, according to merchant prices collated by Liv-ex. Since the 2012 vintage, Latour no longer releases wine to the futures market, electing to mature the wine in its cellars for sale closer to when it’s ready to drink.

Chateau Latour, with 78 hectares (193 acres) of vineyards, traces its wine-growing history back to at least the 16th century and has been owned since 1993 by French billionaire Francois Pinault, according to its website. Pinault is the founder and controlling shareholder of Gucci-maker Kering.

It was one of the first Bordeaux wine estates to install stainless-steel tanks in its winery, in the 1960s, with full renovations done in 2001.

Latour is one of the five left-bank first-growth wine estates and one of three in the Pauillac district, along with Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Mouton Rothschild. The classification was drawn up for Napoleon III’s 1855 Paris Exhibition, and remains in force, with Mouton joining the rank of first-growth in 1973.


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