A case of 1999 Chateau Latour, a first-growth wine estate in Bordeaux’s Pauillac district, sold for 3,457 pounds ($5,750) on Liv-ex this week, its lowest level for more than three years amid weakening Bordeaux demand.
The sale, on March 26, was 13 percent below the vintage’s 2013 high in April of 3,982 pounds and took the wine to its lowest since October 2010, according to data on the London-based market’s Cellar Watch website.
The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index tracking top Bordeaux wines is heading for its 11th monthly decline in the past 12, after falling 3 percent last year and 10 percent in 2012. The index has retreated about 3 percent this year as collectors and investors, deterred by prices of recent vintages, have diversified outside the region.
“The sentiment towards Bordeaux has been negative for almost three years now, the latest part of an unprecedented period of volatility” for the region, Miles Davis, a partner at London-based Wine Asset Managers LLP, which has $20 million under management, wrote in a market blog this month.
The March 26 sale took the 1999 Latour 29 percent below the peak at which it traded in May 2011, when Asian demand for Bordeaux first growths was at its height. The wine has more than tripled from its 950 pound level of September 2005, in the wine’s early trading on the Liv-ex market.
The 1999 Latour is the estate’s seventh most expensive vintage of the last 15 traded years, up to and including the 2011, according to merchant prices collated by Liv-ex. Since the 2012 vintage, Latour no longer releases wine to the futures market, electing to mature the wine in its cellars for sale closer to when it’s ready to drink.
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.
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.