Latour ’08 Slides to Lowest Level on Liv-Ex Since 2010

Four cases of 2008 Chateau Latour, a Bordeaux first-growth estate, sold for 4,000 pounds ($6,410) a case in three trades on Liv-ex this month, taking the vintage to its lowest level on the London exchange since February 2010.

The transactions, which took place between Nov. 6 and Nov. 11, were followed by two further cases fetching 4,100 pounds on Nov. 13, according to data on Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index, a benchmark for top Bordeaux wines, has fallen about 8 percent since mid-March, erasing its earlier gains this year, while the broader Liv-ex 100 has been sliding over a similar period. Muted investor appetite for recent vintages of Bordeaux first growths has also sapped appetite for older vintages.

“The Liv-ex 100 experienced its seventh consecutive loss in October,” Liv-ex said in its latest market report, describing trading last month as “muted.”

The Latour 2008 transactions this month at 4,000 pounds a case were 16 percent down from this year’s high of 4,750 pounds in July and 54 percent below the 8,647 pound record reached in December 2010, when demand for Bordeaux was peaking, according to Liv-ex data.

Sixteenth-Century Roots

The 2008 Latour is the estate’s eighth-highest-priced wine of the past 20 years, according to merchant prices collated by Liv-ex on its Cellar Watch website. Last week’s price was still more than double the 1,640 pounds a case for which it sold in April 2009 as it began trading on the exchange.

It was rated 95+ on a 100-point scale by U.S. critic Robert Parker in a May 2011 online tasting note, making it the third-highest ranked vintage of the past five years after the 2010 and 2009, which each scored a perfect 100.

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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