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Spotlight On: Latour 1961

John Siudut
Posted: January 16, 2008

While it took the 1961 first-growth index nearly 11 years to double in the period from 1995 until 2006, within the last year and a half the wines have already doubled again amid great volatility. Château Latour (100 points, release price NA, current $3,952) has led the way and been the top wine in terms of price and volume. Forty-three bottles traded hands in the past quarter and the highest price achieved was $5,500 a bottle at Christie's New York. But recent price spikes for both Château Mouton-Rothschild (92 points, release NA, current $2,058) and Château Haut-Brion (96 points, release NA, current $2,867) have challenged its supremacy.

While there may still be more upside for the all the first-growths from 1961, with its reputation for ageability, Latour probably has more gas in the tank than the others. It is the only '61 from Bordeaux that scored 100 points--the next highest rating is 96 points for the Cheval-Blanc 1961 (release NA, current $1,507)--and for many, it remains the wine of the vintage and should retain its value the longest. Collectors will now have to decide for themselves if its reputation and status are worth the current price and if pressure from new investors wanting to buy the very best will continue to raise the stakes for those who want entry. Keep in mind that the futures price of the 2005 Latour — a younger wine by 44 years -- is $1,105.

This data comes from the Wine Spectator Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions. This chart plots the average price of Latour 1961 against the averages of the other first growths from 1961.

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