In year 2012, Chateau Latour has made the decision to leave the en primeur system. The chateau’s intention is clear – from vintage 2012 onwards, wines from Chateau Latour will only be released when they are deemed ready by the winery team. Today, 8 years since Latour’s 2012 crop has been vinified and securely aged in the cellars of Chateau Latour, the wine is finally ready to leave the winery.

The key question is, how good are the prices of 2012 Chateau Latour?

In a nutshell, a real bargain. Given its score of WA96+, projected price should have been HKD 5,000 – 5,500. Current offer price HKD 3,380 is 32% below projected price.

We have looked back at prices of Chateau Latour from 2000 to 2011 and it shows a 82.6% correlation (r-value) to Wine Advocate scores, which suggests that there is a strong correlation between the two. Though by no means does this suggest that predicting Chateau Latour’s prices is an easy feat. When it comes to plotting a best-fit line for price prediction purpose, the regression line shows a moderate accuracy at a r-squared value of 0.68, hinting that there are other variables at play which may influence the final pricing of Chateau Latour.

Provenance assurance of these cases of Chateau Latour 2012 is one such variable, which in this case warrants higher release prices. Basing on the current correlation strength between Latour prices and WA scores over the past decade, a reasonable price range for a bottle of Chateau Latour 2012 should be within the range of HKD 5,000 – 5,500; before factoring in additional premium attached to guaranteed provenance.

Let’s take a look at 5-year yield of Grand Vins from rest of First Growth chateaux.

Combination of pristine provenance, relative superior quality and competitive price point against close counterparts enhance Latour 2012’s asset quality.

Lafite 2012 WA91 – HKD 3,877 per bottle (+53.2% over a 5-year period)
Mouton Rothschild 2012 WA94 – HKD 3,056 per bottle (+30.0% over a 5-year period)
Margaux 2012 WA95 – HKD 2,912 per bottle (+30.2% over a 5-year period)
Haut Brion 2012 WA98 – HKD 2,530 per bottle (+13.1% over a 5-year period)

Remarks: UK market prices are used for above data set compilation.

Final consideration is to be given to vintage quality.

Historical analysis shows that Latour from lesser vintages tend to show larger room of price appreciation than those from blockbuster vintages. Latour 2010’s 5-year yield currently stands at 16% whilst that of 2007 yields 39% gain in value over same period of time. 2012 vintage quality aligns more closely to that of 2007 i.e. lesser vintages, where the team at Latour was challenged by tricky weather conditions – an intense summer drought, followed by a rainy harvest. Nonetheless, as professional ratings so reveal, weather challenges had wrought minimal impact on resulting wine quality of Latour 2012.

Our conclusion – at current offer of HKD 3,380 per bottle, Latour 2012 is a great value must-buy item. It has the making of a truly enjoyable wine; whilst promising long-term price appreciation potential.

What critics say about Chateau Latour 2012

Chateau Latour 2012 WA96+

The 2012 Latour is a blend of 90.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.6% Merlot and 0.2% Petit Verdot. Medium to deep garnet colored, the nose slowly, measuredly emerges with notions of preserved Morello cherries, baked blackcurrants and blackberry compote, giving way to nuances of pencil shavings, unsmoked cigars, Chinese five spice and sandalwood plus ever so subtle hints of cardamom and eucalyptus. Medium-bodied, the palate delivers mouth-coating black and red fruit preserves with a firm, grainy-textured frame and fantastic freshness, finishing with a veritable firework display of lingering spices and minerals. This is a more restrained, relatively elegant vintage of Latour that may not have that “iron fist in a velvet glove” power of the greatest vintages but nonetheless struts its superior terroir and behind-the-scenes savoir faire with impressive panache. It is drinking nicely now with suitably rounded-off, approachable tannins, and the tertiary characters are just beginning to bring some more cerebral elements into the compote of temptingly primary black fruits. But, if you’re looking to drink it in full, flamboyant swing, give it another 5-10 years in bottle and drink it over the next 20-25 years+. Drink 2020 – 2050.