Thirty bottles of 2000 Chateau Latour, a Bordeaux first-growth estate, sold for the equivalent of more than $13,000 a case in four trades on Liv-ex this month, holding stable near the seven-month low it touched in September.
Twelve bottles sold for 8,150 pounds ($13,150) on Oct. 23, following trades for six bottles each at a per-case equivalent of 8,300 pounds on Oct. 13 and Oct. 18 and 8,220 pounds Oct. 11, according to data on Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website. Five cases fetched 8,160 pounds each Sept. 13, the lowest since February.
The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index, a benchmark for top Bordeaux wines, has fallen more than 5 percent since the end of March, paring its gain to about 1 percent this year. Muted investor appetite for recent vintages of Bordeaux first growths has also sapped appetite for older vintages.
“We’re very much at the bottom of the long-term cycle now” Miles Davis, partner of London-based Wine Asset Managers LLP, said in an interview. “Longer-term it’s going to be heading up. I’m not sure when it’s going to start, that’s the big issue.” The fund has $20 million under management.
The Latour 2000 transaction on Oct. 23 was 4 percent down from this year’s high of 8,500 pounds in February and 28 percent below the 11,275 pound record it reached in July 2011, when demand for Bordeaux was peaking, according to Liv-ex data.
A case of Latour 2000 fetched 7,990 pounds at a Sotheby’s sale in London last week, according to the auction house’s website, while 12 bottles of the estate’s 2005 vintage fetched 6,815 pounds and a case of 1996 sold for 5,170 pounds.
“The provenance more than anything is key,” Stephen Mould, head of Sotheby’s European wine department, said in a telephone interview following the sale.
The 2000 Latour ranks as the estate’s third-highest-priced wine of the past 15 years, lagging behind only those from 2010 and 2009, according to merchant prices collated by Liv-ex on its Cellar Watch website. Last week’s price was still more than triple the 2,520 pounds a case for which it sold in August 2003 as it began trading on the exchange.
It was rated 98 on a 100-point scale by U.S. critic Robert Parker in a June 2010 online tasting note, making it the fourth-highest ranked vintage of the past 15 years.
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.
It was one of the first Bordeaux wine estates to install stainless-steel tanks in its winery in the 1960s and fully renovated them in 2001. Last year it set another precedent by announcing it intended to no longer sell wine through the Bordeaux futures system, instead reserving it for sale closer to the time when it becomes ready to drink.
Latour is one of the five first-growth wine estates on the left bank of the Gironde estuary 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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