In is now time for the first wine brand that gets on the podium for our Top Ten, top dedicated to the best wines of the year 2014, tracked by value share amongst the most prestigious brands traded on the exchange and listed on the 2014 Liv-ex Power 100 list. Thus, here it is, the wine brand that occupies the third place on our list.
Château Latour is a French wine estate, rated as a First Growth under the 1855 Bordeaux Classification, owned by Groupe Artemis. Latour lies at the very southeastern tip of the commune of Pauillac in the Médoc region to the north-west of Bordeaux, at its border with Saint-Julien, and only a few hundred metres from the banks of the Gironde estuary. The estate produces three red wines in all. In addition to its Grand vin, Latour has also produced the second wine Les Forts de Latour since 1966, and a third wine, simply named Pauillac, has been released every year since 1990. An impériale (six-litre bottle) of Château Latour sold for £135,000 in 2011
From 1670 began a lineage of connected family ownership not broken until 1963,when the estate was acquired by the de Chavannes family, and passed by marriage to the de Clauzel family in 1677. When Alexandre de Ségur married Marie-Thérèse de Clauzel, Latour became a part of his vast property, to which he also added Château Lafite in 1716, just prior to his death. In 1718 his son Nicolas-Alexandre de Ségur added Château Mouton and Château Calon-Ségur to his holdings and began producing wines of great quality. The widespread reputation of Latour emerged at the beginning of the 18th century when its status was established on export markets such as England, alongside chateaux Lafite, Margaux and Pontac. With the death of Nicolas-Alexandre Ségur in 1755 the estate was divided among four daughters, three of whom inherited Latour in 1760, and with absent landlords, Latour was managed by a regisseur charged with efficient administration and thorough correspondence with the owners. Receiving more care than under the late owner whose favourite had been Lafite, Latour improved in the later half of the century, and later became a favourite of Thomas Jefferson, then minister to France, when he categorised La Tour de Ségur as a vineyard of first quality in 1787.
With the onset of the French Revolution, the property became divided. The Comte de Ségur-Cabanac fled France and his portion was auctioned off by the state in 1794, passing through several owners. The estate was not reunited until 1841, when the family succeeded in a plot to put the estate up for sale, and eventually emerged after an auction having regained the 20 percent shares owned by négociants Barton, Guestier and Johnston. The Société Civile de Château Latour was formed in 1842, exclusive to the family, who then had become shareholders.
In 1963 the estate finally left the Ségur family, then named de Beaumont, when the heirs sold three-quarters of the Château Latour shares to the British interests of the Pearson Group under control of Lord Cowdray, with shares owned by Harvey’s of Bristol. Henri Martin and Jean-Paul Gardère were appointed as managers which brought about substantial innovations. Investments were made in research, vineyards were expanded by acquisition and replanting, the chai was extended and Latour became the first of the first growths to modernise their whole production, replacing the old oak fermenting vats with stainless steel temperature-controlled vats. The second wine with fruit from younger vines was initiated, and fruit for the grand vin was decided to come exclusively from the vineyards shown on the plan of the domain from 1759. Martin and Gardère formally resigned from the Conseil d’Administration in 1987, ending a 24-year era. In 1989 Latour was purchased by Allied Lyons for around £110 million, but in 1993 returned to French ownership when bought by businessman François Pinault for £86 million when it became part of his holding company Groupe Artemis.
In December 2008 it was reported that the investment bank Lazard was offering the estate for sale. The Sunday Times speculated that among the interested parties were wine mogul Bernard Magrez, with actors Gérard Depardieu and Carole Bouquet, in a transaction which would bring one of the five first growths under the control of a resident Bordelais for the first time in several decades. Ahead of the International Exhibition in Paris, the selection of Latour as one of the four First Growths in the Classification of 1855 consolidated its reputation, and ensured its high prices. The present château was completed in 1864.
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