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April 20, 2012

Lafite Marks the Start of the En Primeur 2011: 2011 Marks the End for Latour

Chateau-Lafite-Rothschild-classical-view

Friday saw the surprise news that Chateau Latour have decided to remove themselves from En Primeur completely and start releasing Chateau Latour and Les Forts de Latour on the secondary market when they feel their wine is ready to drink.

Chateau Latour has for a number of years been reducing the amount of wine it releases En Primeur to negociants, keeping more and more unsold on the estate. They have also recently built a new cellar facility close to the Chateau, which they will no doubt use to store their back vintages until they release vintages that they consider ready for consumption but with cast-iron provenance.

Many experts believe that this will be an isolated move with no other top chateau following suit, but it will give Latour greater control over their pricing arguably artificially creating their own price benchmark and more profit in the long-term. The enduring effects on the market may not be seen for several years, but if it proves to be successful (and profitable) other chateaux like Lafite who no longer rely on En Primeur sales to self-finance could follow suit.

Lafite 30% down on 2010 – à vous de boire!
Chateau Lafite was today the first 1st Growth to release prices for its 2011 vintage, it will be available ex-negociant at 430 Euros per bottle, 350 Euros from the chateaux, which represents a 30% discount on last year’s price. Liv-ex has seen a merchant to merchant trade today at £5,450 (£454 a bottle). This makes it the cheapest current trading vintage of Lafite since 2000 on the exchange.