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Jane Anson – ‘Latour has ushered in new ways of selling wine in Bordeaux’

There was a minor spat a few months ago over the performance of Pauillac legend Château Latour on the secondary market. Trading platform Liv-ex reported that sales volume for Latour had dropped way behind its first-growth siblings (Lafite’s sales are reportedly quadruple that of Latour); while wine ratings site Wine Lister rejoined that Latour’s performance in auction house sales was robust and in fact it’s the only first growth to have seen two quarters of trading growth.

The argument arose because since the 2011 en primeur campaign Latour has dropped out of the traditional selling system for top Bordeaux wines, meaning that its last five vintages are not yet available to buyers. The debate is basically over whether this has meant the brand is now dropping out of wine drinkers’ consciousness due to its lack of visibility; or whether Latour’s actions are an acknowledgement that consumers today may prefer to buy ready-to-drink wines.


What I’ve been drinking this month

From a classic Right Bank year, the Château Figeac 1998 just jumps out of the glass with its brambly black fruits, lip-staining in their pleasure. A hailstorm in July meant around 40% less yield than normal but this is concentrated, juicy and absolutely ready to go. Tasted as part of a five-decade vertical of this wine, it shows how perfectly Figeac can slowly measure out its charms and keep on getting better the longer it is in the glass.

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