4th February, 2013 by Patrick Schmitt
8. Château Latour
Rank in 2011: 4
Total score: 174
Liv-ex trade: 9.28%
Critics’ score: 96.04
Average price: £6,930 (9l case)
Price change: -12.1%
Production: 14,600 cases
Weighted production: £101,178,000
The most powerful first growth of 2012 was not Château Lafite for the first time since 2008, but the famously long-lived Latour.
While the first growths have seen price declines of up to a 60% depending on the vintage, Latour has been least-affected of the five, with an average performance drop of 12% (compared to over 30% for Lafite).
Of course it never benefited from the sudden must-have status of Lafite in Asia, and to a lesser extent Mouton, but there’s a sense Latour has retained much of its strength because it’s the first growth favourite among the trade.
“Latour has not been hit as hard,” says Simon Staples of Berry Bros & Rudd, speaking to the drinks business late last year.
Continuing he explains, “It’s considered more often than not the best [of the first growths]…. Latour is less likely to be dumped.”
Restricted supply has also helped – Latour’s owner, François Pinault has been gradually reducing the amount released en primeur since he bought the property in 1993, and, although the impact of the château’s decision to withdraw entirely from the futures market will not be seen until next year, the announcement earlier in 2012 precipitated an increase in trading.
Looking back over the seven years since Liv-ex and the drinks business have run the fine wine power list, Lafite has always led the first growths except in years of market turmoil – that is 2012 and 2008 – when Latour’s inherent strength sees it hold its prices while Lafite and others suffer declines.