How To Spend It

Drink | Need To Now

A tantalising trio

Three highly sought-after ex-château Latours come to market

A tantalising trio

March 21 2013
John Stimpfig

For nearly a year, the fine-wine world has been waiting with bated breath for the first annual release of mature stock from Château Latour. Last March, the Pauillac First Growth’s president, Frédéric Engerer, stunned the fine and rare market by unilaterally announcing that after 2012 he would no longer sell its young wines en primeur. Instead, Latour would only release older vintages when it felt they were ready to drink.

Now, its first annual ex-château offering for 2013 has hit the market, comprising a trio of Latour’s highly sought-after back vintages. The UK fine wine merchant Farr Vintners has just put out its offer featuring all three wines.

The first is Latour’s “third” wine, the 2009 Pauillac de Latour, at £600 a case in bond from Farr Vintners. Critic Robert Parker gave this wine a remarkable 92-point score and confidently asserts it will drink well for at least another decade. The wine is also highly rated (17 points) by the FT’s Jancis Robinson. “Truly Latour-like and nothing at all like a third wine,” she noted.

Next comes Latour’s deuxième vin, the 2005 Les Forts de Latour. In recent years, Les Forts has been widely accepted as performing at “super second” quality. At £1,700 a case from Farrs, this comes with only a slight premium on current market prices and looks to be extremely competitively priced. Engerer says that he personally wouldn’t open it for another two years, but that it will continue to drink well for another two decades.

This year’s Grand Vin release is the 1995, which Farrs is selling for £4,950. Clearly, this is less of a “bargain” than the other two parcels. Not least because the ex-château price puts the wine at a significant £500 to £700 premium to “normal” stock currently in circulation. “This is really a wine for collectors who want pristine labels with perfect ex-château provenance,” says Stephen Browett, owner and chairman of Farr Vintners.

According to Engerer, “The 1995 Latour is slowly reaching a drinking phase, but has a serious reserve of tannic energy and should continue to improve in the next five years at least, and then last another 20 years easily.”

Significantly, all the bottles come with anti-counterfeit proof tag capsules and a special back label stating that the wines have been released by the château in 2013. The wines are all available for delivery from early May.

“We don’t have a lot of stock, and I’d be surprised if the wines don’t sell very quickly. It is, after all, Latour,” adds Browett.