Chateau Latour

Chateau Latour

Producer profile

Listed Wines

Latour

Forts de Latour

Owner

Francois Pinault

President

Frederic Engerer

Annual Production (Grand Vin)

16-18,000 cases

Classification

1er Grand Cru classé

Appellation

Pauillac

Second Wine

Forts de Latour

Interesting Fact

Francois Pinault also owns Burgundy Domaine Engel and renamed the estate after his mother, Domaine d’Eugenie.

Chateau Latour   Latour

Brand

Since the self-made luxury goods magnate acquired the estate in 1993, his generous investment and decision to empower Engerer have been a central factors in developing Latour into a powerful luxury brand. Engerer recalls his first En Primeur campaign “with the '94 vintage, which we sold for €28 a bottle.  Now we sell the wines at €500 a bottle." back in 2011, Latour ranked 4th in the Liv-ex power 100 ranking (a list of the most "powerful" brands in the fine wine marketplace), positioning itself above the likes of DRC & Petrus. Since then it has slipped down to 12th after the ramifications of exiting the en primeur system have impacted their wider trading volumes.

There is no question that Latour remain at the peak of their powers and quality levels have by no means diminished after they released the 2011 as their last en primeur vintage. the 2016 looks to be the pick of their post exit vintages with a potential (98-100)pts score from Neal Martin.

This will be the first true test of their new release strategy as and when it comes to market.

Critic Appraisal

The long-lived wines of Latour are often considered to be the quintessential claret. Both the Grand Vins and the Second Wine have the highest average Parker score when comparing First Growth vintages and their respective second wines. Since the onset of the Pinault/Engerer era in 1993, the wine has won enviable critic scores. The last 10 out 11 vintages have produced wines scored 95+ points by Robert Parker. This includes the poor (for Bordeaux in general) vintages of 2001, 2002 & 2004- it is to Latour that First Growth buyers should glance when looking at ‘off prime’ vintages.

In recent times, wine expert Parker described the 2009 Chateau Latour vintage as “a monumental wine from a monumental vintage in the Medoc”. The 2009 vintage also received wide acclaim from the international wine trade, with Latour beating Lafite and Margaux as wine of the vintage, according to a poll conducted by Liv-ex. At a recent high-profile re-tasting of Bordeaux 2000, Latour won the same accolade- best in vintage overall.

Although Latour has now become an investable luxury brand under the guidance of Pinault, the wine is still a reflection of its terroir and many experts regard Latour as the leading First Growth. The wine has a propensity for ageing very well and many commentators remark that the 1899, 1900, 1928 and 1945 still rank highly on their list of favourite Latour vintages.

History

Ch. Latour is one of the oldest Bordeaux estates in Pauillac, dating back to the 14th century. By the 18th Century Latour was widely recognised as the unofficial First Growth alongside Lafite, Margaux & Pontac (Haut Brion). The wine was widely exported to England and fell into favour with Thomas Jefferson, the US ambassador to France. Soon Latour was selling at more than 20 times the average value of ordinary Bordeaux by the middle of the 18th century- a key factor in its ranking as a First Growth during the 1855 classification.

Like all First Growths, Latour has undergone a succession of ownerships, from the Ségur family until the 1960s (and under whose tenure the legendary 1961 was produced which in 2011 set the record price for Latour at auction), to a period with the Pearson Group, then passed on to Allied Lyons, and now under the proficient management of Francois Pinault who has held the property since 1993. Today the estate forms part of Pinault’s wider business portfolio, including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent & Christie’s auction house.

Pinault decided to delegate day-to-day direction of the estate to its Président, Frédéric Engerer, whose direction has led to landmark quality and performance. Latour has proved extremely popular  among investors with steady and reliable growth over the last decade. In 2012, Pinault made the striking decision to pull Latour out of the en primeur system.

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