The Latour top wine, for many critics one of the best wines of the current vintage - costs ex négociant 450 euro per bottle and is available on the British market at 4,800 £ (about 5,984 euro) per twelve pack. The Cheval Blanc winery, controlled by the LVMH, announced its top wine for 465 euro, an incredible slip in prices of 48.4 percent; Bernard Arnault, president of the LVMH group, considers himself as business rival of François Pinault, owner of Château Latour. On the British market, the Cheval Blanc wines are offered at 4,500 £ (about 5,610 euro).
Traders describe the Latour as “must buy” - particularly as this vintage is the last one to be offered per subscription. According to insiders, the first ration is already completely sold out, and the second tranche will be sold out, too, at the moment. In view of the run on the Latour, Cheval Blanc had no choice but to adjust their prices. But a slight undercut does not seem to bring the demand the Cheval Blanc winery had hoped for, either - traders and customers are too annoyed.
Latour’s withdrawal from subscription is, moreover, a useful move for the other châteaux. Some lower classified châteaux had withdrawn from subscription as early as with the 2010 vintage, and in Bordeaux, experts are guessing if this entails a chain reaction, and if this is really good. Many are wondering: “Why on earth are the châteaux thinking the traders’ customers would pay more money for wines from a subscription than for vintages ready to drink?”
The château Cheval Blanc is, however, not entirely innocent in this discussion because during the past years, the price policy of Cheval Blanc brought an extreme unrest and controversial reactions to traders. The peak was the winery’s opening price for last year’s top crus (900 euro), which promptly triggered a rebellion among négociants. Afterwards, the Château Lafite Rothschild, also announced they couldn’t “advocate” so “incredible” a price.
Moreover, from 2009, the traders’ distress had increased to an extremely high extent. Their storehouses are full, and the overpriced crus are piling up, which can only be sold to crazy lovers or some day at auctions, unless they are brought to the market at adjusted prices. The customers’ pain threshold is very sensitive - they prefer, for instance, Figeac wines from the 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007 or 2008 vintages at 600 euro each, whereas en primeur prices from 2011 (750 euro each) do not trigger enthusiasm. (red.yoopress)