Chateau Latour pulls out of en-primeur selling. This is very big news indeed if you are a buyer or drinker of blue chip claret! In the wine world this is the equivalent of Manchester United leaving the premier league! And the same sort arguments are fermenting and bubbling around Bordeaux and the fine wine world. We have to assume that in the following weeks that the other twenty of so super-rich blue chip chateau owners will also pull out of this early wine selling.
En-primeur selling? The buying of the chateau’s wine while it’s still in the barrel, the wine equivalent of a wine futures market. As with selling of frozen orange juice and pork bellies on the futures market, wine’s lucrative en-primeur buying and selling chain of courtiers, négociants, brokers and traditional merchants have all done very nicely out of this early trading.
This powerful group of buyers and sellers have the most to lose, and they will do their upmost to persuade Chateau Latour to come back into the fold and at worst they’ll try and stop the other super-rich blue chip chateau owners following a similar selling path. My gut feeling is they have as much chance of success as snowball in hell! Latour’s owner Francois Pinault, like Manchester United’s owner Malcolm Glazer; are two of the world’s most successful businessmen. They have not become super-rich by making bad business calls!
Indeed many of the super-rich owners have been keen on an alternative to the selling of their wine en-primeur for the last ten years or so. They see it as an antiquated and creaking vehicle that has outlived its original purpose of being a financial prop for cash-strapped chateaux – and that it should have been scrapped years ago. Moreover, from their side of the bottle, they watch their wines escalate on the secondary market, and are justifiably aggrieved at the 100’s millions of Euros lost in revenue to Bordeaux’ chateaux – their businesses!
Latour’s decision to pull out of the en-primeur is not only a financial one – it’s a quality one as well. As with Krug & Dom Perignon champagne they want to sell their wine when they deem it’s ready to drink. This grape to glass business plan is best way forward to improving the quality of the wine we drink. Anybody that has drunk Krug or Dom Perignon champagne can testify to that.
Hopefully, this will be the start of the demise of communicators (I stopped doing it in 1999) and sellers around the world who produce authoritative, detailed tasting notes and perfect scored for embryonic en-primeur barrel samples. It’s just plain silly! It’s the equivalent of Sir Alex Ferguson, predicting that baby of few weeks will be playing for Manchester United’s first team in seventeen years time. And that would be just as silly!
We wait for the other blue chips to announce that they are following Chateau Latour and booting the en-primeur into touch!
The other main blue chip Bordeaux chateaux:
Ch. Margaux, Ch. Palmer, Ch. Mouton-Rothschild, Ch. Lafite-Rothschild, Pichon-Longueville, Ch Haut Brion, Ch. Cheval Blanc, Ch. Cos d’Estournel, Ch. Petrus, Ch. Clinet, Ch. La Consellante, Ch. Ducru Beaucaillou, Ch.L’Evangile, Ch. Trotanoy, Ch. Ausone, Le Pin, Ch Langoa-Barton, Ch Leoville Barton, Ch. Pavie, Vieux Chateau Certain.
Dom Perignon Champagne