Our blog of 11th September highlighted Chateau Latour’s recent re-releases at a much more affordable and realistic price than they had hitherto practised. But what has propmted this volte face ? A recent article in Decanter by Jane Anson would seem to point to the fact that Latour’s decision may have been forced upon them by the slow down in the luxury goods market in Asia because of their failure to engage with their younger audience, hence why they have altered their stance and acknowledged that they need a more direct relationship with their consumers. Sliding prices, poor returns and disillusioned drinkers have meant that they have had to be more sensible with their pricing particularly as consumers are no longer prepared to pay a higher price just because a wine comes direct from the chateau. However Latour did point out that these particular vintages are the last that they have in stock so should be in demand by collectors. Unfortunately their release coincided with merchants selling iconic wines from other regions like Masseto, Solaia and Penfolds which had priority over Latour.
On the other hand one merchant in China stated that his customers preferred their wines mature and ready-to-drink and welcomed Latour’s new approach. Latour themselves recognise that there are always customers looking for older wines with perfect provenance and after the Rudy Kurniawan forgery trial this may become increasingly important to certain collectors. The acid test will arise when Latour starts releasing the vintages that it has stockpiled and held back for a future release at a price of its choosing because the recent vintages currently available on the market may well be more competitively priced. Finally Latour does not exist in isolation and if Bordeaux suffers then so will Latour because its policy means that it has a much larger stock of wine than most chateaux. Its much vaunted policy could still be a millstone round its own neck.