Finally, the cracks in the En Primeur machinery that had long been pointed out by critics seem to have given way to some movement from the nuts and bolts that hold the entire system in place – the Chateaus themselves.
In a bold move, Latour has announced that the 2011 vintage will be their last en primeur campaign, with no indication of possibility of re-entering. Instead, only bottled wines will be sold AND only when that particular vintage is deemed by the chateau to be ready for drinking.
It will be interesting to see if the chateau is willing to NOT sell any wine in a given year if the wine isn’t drinking ‘optimally’ by their standards. Obviously, this deviation from the norm is also a sign that the financial pillars of Latour are holding up very well.
A couple of questions that might need to be answered. First, is this approach applicable to Les Forts de Latour as well? Second, how is this going to impact on the demand for back vintages? Latour isn’t a wine to be enjoyed without some years of age, so will there be speculative purchasing of stocks which could potentially boost demand and prices, yet again.
This is one movement to keep a close eye on, no doubt.