I just read a story from the Sunday Times of London that Château Latour, the famous first-growth estate in Bordeaux, is looking for a buyer. And I had to laugh. Anything is possible, but I know that it isn't. In fact, I heard that Latour's owner, Francois Pinault, the French fashion magnate, is looking to buy another property in Bordeaux at the moment.
Granted, I am sure that Pinault has lost a lot of money in 2008 with his investments in his luxury-goods group PPR. It includes such high-end names as Gucci and Puma, as well as Christie’s auction house. Just about all luxury brands are taking a hit at the moment, and it is only going to get worse in 2009, according to my friends in that world. But I don't think he wants to sell the Hope Diamond of his investments. I am not so sure he considers Latour an investment anyway. The wine estate gives him an incredible amount of prestige, and he loves to drink the powerful, long-aging, Cabernet Sauvignon-based reds of the estate. I am sure he would rather sell some of his amazing art collection, which is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, before selling Latour.
The biggest joke of the Times story was the price. The piece said that Latour was selling for between $210 million and $280 million. I think a real price would be three or four times that, even with the decline in the property and wine market.
Anyway, I know that this doesn't have much to do with most of us. We don’t drink Latour very often, as amazing as the wine is. Maybe prices will come down enough in 2009, so that more of us can? I hope so. I wish that I was sipping a bottle of it tonight for New Year's Eve, but I will be in Fleming's Steak House in Rancho Mirage with my mom and two children before taking in a movie. That restaurant doesn't have any Latour on the list, and I am not spending that sort of money tonight anyway. I will probably go for a California Syrah or something—it’s a long way from the world of luxury goods and multimillion dollar châteaus.
Happy New Year!