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Latour 2000 Selling at $12,950 Touches Seven-Month Low on Liv-Ex

Chateau Latour
The entrance to first-growth Chateau Latour is shown in Pauillac, France. Photographer: Elin McCoy/Bloomberg

Five cases of 2000 Chateau Latour, a Bordeaux first-growth wine estate, sold for 8,160 pounds ($12,950) each on the Liv-ex market in London last week, taking the vintage to its lowest level in seven months.

The transaction on Sept. 13 was 4 percent down from this year’s high of 8,500 pounds reached in February and 28 percent below the 11,275 pound record it reached in July 2011, when demand for top Bordeaux was peaking.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index, a benchmark for top Bordeaux wines, has slipped 1 percent since the end of June, extending a 2 percent decline in the second quarter, after gaining 7 percent in the first three months of the year. A muted investor response to the Bordeaux 2012 sales campaign this year has also sapped appetite for older vintages since April.

“Bordeaux was out of the spotlight” over the past month as investors turned their attention to other regions, Liv-ex said in a blog comment on the market trend.

The 2000 Latour ranks as the estate’s third-highest-priced wine of the past 15 years, lagging 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.

Pauillac Estate

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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