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Latour releases 1995 as its first non-primeur vintage

Chateau Latour has just announced its 2013 release of ‘almost ready to drink’ wines, which are being offered for sale via negociants and global merchants.

Engerer: left en primeur system unilaterally

The first annual ex-chateau offer comprises different vintages of Latour’s three estate wines – Chateau Latour, Les Forts de Latour and its lesser-known third wine Pauillac de Latour.

Last April, Latour’s president Frédéric Engerer surprised the wine world by unilaterally announcing that after 2012 the First Growth would no longer be marketing its wines through the en primeur system. Instead, Latour would only release older vintages onto the market when it felt they were becoming ready to drink.

One of the first merchants to put up an offer was London’s Farr Vintners, which is selling the 2009 Pauillac de Latour at £600 a case in bond.

This wine was well-received at en primeur: in April 2010 Steven Spurrier for Decanter praised its ‘Deep colour, wild violets nose, fine natural sweetness, impressive depth of fruit, and attractive open style’.

Farrs is also selling the 2005 Les Forts de Latour at £1700 a case, in bond.

In recent years, Les Forts has been widely accepted as performing at ‘super second’ quality.

Engerer says that he personally wouldn’t open it for another two years but that it will continue to drink well for another two decades.

This year’s Grand Vin release is the 1995, which Farrs prices at £4950. As a result, it carries an ex-chateau premium of £500-700 premium on ‘normal’ well-provenanced stock currently in circulation. ‘This is really a wine for collectors who want pristine labels with perfect ex-chateau provenance,’ said Farrs chairman Stephen Browett.

According to Engerer, ‘the 95 Latour is slowly reaching a drinking phase but has a serious reserve of tannic energy and should continue to improve in the next five years at least, and then last another twenty years, easily.’

All the bottles come with anti-counterfeit Prooftag capsules and a special back label stating that the wines have been released by the chateau in 2013. The wines are all available for delivery from early May.

‘We don’t have a lot of stock and I’d be surprised if the wines don’t sell very quickly. It is after all, Latour,’ Browett said.

Written by John Stimpfig

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