A tantalising trio

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

For nearly ayear, the fine-wine world has been waiting with bated breath for the firstannual release of mature stock from Château Latour. Last March, the PauillacFirst Growth’s president, Frédéric Engerer, stunned the fine and rare market byunilaterally announcing that after 2012 he would no longer sell its young winesen primeur. Instead, Latour would only release older vintages when it felt they were ready to drink.

Now, its firstannual ex-château offering for 2013 has hit the market, comprising a trioof Latour’s highly sought-after back vintages. The UK fine winemerchant Farr Vintners has justput out its offer featuring all three wines.

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

Next comes Latour’sdeuxième vin, the 2005 Les Forts de Latour. In recent years, Les Forts has beenwidely accepted as performing at “super second” quality. At £1,700 a case fromFarrs, this comes with only a slight premium on current market prices and looksto be extremely competitively priced. Engerer says that he personally wouldn’topen it for another two years, but that it will continue to drink well foranother two decades.

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This year’s GrandVin release is the 1995, which Farrs is selling for £4,950. Clearly, this isless of a “bargain” than the other two parcels. Not least because theex-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 wantpristine labels with perfect ex-château provenance,” says Stephen Browett, owner and chairman of Farr Vintners.

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

Significantly,all the bottles come with anti-counterfeit proof tag capsules and a specialback 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 alot of stock, and I’d be surprised if the wines don’t sell very quickly. It is, after all, Latour,” adds Browett.

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