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Sale of Chateau Latour Presented by Christie's Hong Kong 2011 Spring Auctions
Château Latour – Vintage 1909, 1 bottle. Estimate: HK$15,000 – 25,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2011.
HONG KONG.- Christie’s Hong Kong 2011 Spring Sale of Finest and Rarest Wines – Rarities from the Cellar of Château Latour will offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire a tremendous range of vintages from the legendary Château Latour. Offered in pristine condition direct from the Château’s own Reserve Cellar, the lots span nearly 150 years from 1863 to 2009, and include star vintages such as 1899, 1928, 1929, 1945, 1959 and 1961. The sale, which will be held on 27 May, 2011 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, will feature 392 lots valued at over HK$25 million/US$3.2 million.

The Latour Seal of Approval
All the bottles on offer at this sale have been inspected by the President of Château Latour, Frédéric Engerer, and the winemaking team. Each bottle bears the ‘ProoftagTM’ - a unique tracing system proving that a bottle has been released directly from the cellar of Château Latour in April 2011, specifically for Christie’s auction in Hong Kong on May 27th 2011. This offers collectors an additional level of assurance in buying from Christie’s.

David Elswood, International Head of Christie’s Wine Department, said, “We are honoured to present this historic sale on behalf of Château Latour. As collectors gravitate towards Hong Kong for truly special vintages, our ex-cellar Château Latour sale promises to deliver nothing but the rarest and the best.”

Charles Curtis MW, Head of Wine for Asia at Christie's, commented, “In the past three years, not only has the global wine market experienced exponential growth, but the market in Asia has clearly become more sophisticated and discerning. The guarantee of provenance represented by this château direct sale and the use of the ProoftagTM system confirm Christie’s leading role in presenting the very best wines available to the world’s collectors.”

Frédéric Engerer, President of Château Latour, said, “It is not often that one can come across an occasion that offers such a comprehensive range of Latour that covers nearly 150 years. Throughout this period, as changes in ownership and wine-makers meant constant improvements to our wine, one thing has remained consistent - the personality of Château Latour wines. With a unique and recognisable personality and quality that is respected the world over, Château Latour is delighted to once again entrust Christie’s to bring our group of extraordinary wines to collectors and aficionados around the world through auction in Hong Kong.”

La Belle Époque: 1863 – 1900
La Belle Époque refers to the great vintages of the momentous years prior to the 20th Century. We are fortunate to offer a range of vintages from this distant period, including the marvellous pre-phylloxera vintages of 1863 and 1865, as well as the 1890, 1892, 1893, 1896, 1897, and 1898. Also of particular note are the spectacular twin vintages of 1899 and 1900, as these two vintages are legendary monuments of the era and universally recognised as extraordinary wines. Highlights from this period include:

Lot 348-349
Château Latour – Vintage 1863
1 bottle
Estimate: HK$80,000 – 120,000


“Incredible color (as with the 1971). Incredibly youthful. The nose is a bit shy, but opens progressively. Cedar melted with spices and light tobacco notes. Correct length and depth.” Frédéric Engerer, March 2011.

Lot 340-342
Château Latour – Vintage 1893
1 bottle
Estimate: HK$30,000 – 40,000


“An absolute revelation. The 1893 Latour consumed at a recent dinner at the Château had a beautiful light amber color and a bewitching aroma of dried flowers, tar, anise and exotic spices on the nose. On the palate the wine had a fine, ethereal essence yet still retained a bit of the tannic structured that must have been formidable in its day. Today the wine is silky and fine, yet still dense and wonderfully long.” Charles Curtis MW, March 2011.

The Golden Age: 1901 – 1944
The Golden Age is a period that knew both glorious peaks of brilliance as well as the rather less glorious. This was a particularly fecund time in Bordeaux, and the dazzling vintages of the Jazz Age are still lively and delicious ninety years on. 1909, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1926, 1928, and 1929 were all outstanding, and 1924 was very good. We are also able to offer some extremely rare wines from the lean years of the Great Depression and World War. Highlights from this category include:

Lot 325-327
Château Latour – Vintage 1909
1 bottle
Estimate: HK$15,000 – 25,000


“A medium-bodied aromatic wine that is so seductive on the nose. The lovely perfume leads to a sweet mid-palate filled with dried floral notes and subtle herbal flavours. There is incredible grace, elegance and real depth. Layers of flavours keep unfolding gently, one after another. A very impressive wine - especially at 112 years old!” (97) Jeannie Cho Lee MW, March 2011.

Lot 312-314
Château Latour – Vintage 1919
1 bottle
Estimate: HK$20,000 – 30,000


“The 1919 Latour opened recently at the Château was really surprisingly youthful. In spite of its mahogany colour, the nose retained vestiges of a sweet, plum and fig fruit with great complexity of tar, roast meat, and black truffle aromas. On the palate this is still a powerful wine, with body, structure and length all very much intact.” Charles Curtis MW, March 2011.

The Postwar Years: 1945 – 1960
The period between 1945 and 1961 was a glorious one. This is the powerful „mid-career‟ period of mighty wines, definitely mature but in no way ready for the retirement home. This is the period of many monumental vintages, of which 1945, 1949, and 1959 are among the most renowned of the century. The best wines showed a lush, ripe fruit character that had often deepened over time with the resonance of savoury, meaty flavours that marked mature wine from this epoch. Highlights from this category include:

Lot 269 – 270
Château Latour – Vintage 1945
12 bottles
Estimate: HK$480,000 – 720,000


“100 pts, more mature colour than the 1961. Everything from brown sugar, truffles, leather, spices, cedar, chocolate and eucalyptus can be found on the perfect nose and generous palate. There is no greater balance that can be found in any wine as it is so complete and ripe. This is the epitome of wine and the definition of perfection! ” Paulo Pong, March 2011.

Lot 266
Château Latour – Vintage 1947
1 magnum
Estimate: HK$50,000 – 70,000


Lot 267
Château Latour – Vintage 1947
3 bottles
Estimate: HK$60,000 – 90,000


“Incredibly scented, including sandalwood, spice and whiffs of leather. Exotic. Very fruity – dried Chinese plums - and with intensity. Incredible length.” Ch‟ng Poh Tiong, March 2011.

The Modern Era: 1961 – 1981
At the end of the Second World War, although the market for wine continued to build through the decade and a half, the start of the modern era can be attributed to the tumultuous 1961 vintage. This year, marked by frost and heat, produced a classic that is still alive and vital. This vintage, today fifty years of age, will live in the best of cases for another fifty. Many of the top wines from 1982 still seem youthful and even not quite ready, and those wines from the late 1970s also often appear more youthful than not. Highlights from this category include:

Lot 238 – 241
Château Latour – Vintage 1961
12 bottles
Estimate: HK$650,000 – 850,000


“A perfect deep red with obvious maturity. Intense, ripe black fruit aromas, supple leather plus notes of mint and menthol. Crisp yet silky tannins combining with extraordinary persistence and balance. Almost youthful. Impressive.” David Elswood, March 2011.

Contemporary Classics: 1982 – present
1982 - this vintage of great ripeness and wonderful balance ushered in a decade of strong vintages, including 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989 and 1990, each stronger than the last. These wonderful wines are now coming to maturity and our experience now demonstrates that they merit the praises heaped upon them at the time of their release. The 1990s knew fewer blockbuster years, but the general level of quality was higher here than at any time in the past, and the 1995 and 1996 vintages are recognised classics. The wines of the most recent decade are almost a repeat of the much heralded 1980‟s, from the nearly perfect millennial vintage to the torrid and exotic 2003 (particularly successful at Latour), the elegant and classical 2005, the lush and loveable 2008, and the singular 2009. Highlights from this category include:

Lot 1-2
Château Latour – Vintage 2009
6 magnums
Estimate: HK$135,000 – 170,000


“The 2009 Latour was a bit closed initially on the nose but revealed all the galaxy of flavour on the palate, with very ripe plum blackberry, and currant fruit, fresh leather and exotic spices along with very firm but very fine tannins, wonderful density and a lovely penetrating finish.” Charles Curtis MW, April 2010.

Lot 156 - 159
Château Latour – Vintage 1982
12 bottles
Estimate: HK$220,000 – 270,000


“The 1982 Latour for me was the wine of the night. It is aging almost imperceptibly, and still shows an abundance of red and black berry fruit character on the nose, along with some evidence of the spice from the oak aging and a profound minerally firmness, but very few developed or mature aromas at this point. On the palate the wine was youthful, with firm tannins that have only just begun to soften to reveal a lush and dense texture. Great length – truly profound wine.” Charles Curtis MW, June 2009.

Les Forts de Latour and Pauillac de Château Latour: 1966 – 2009
Les Forts de Latour is a wine that has been produced by Château Latour since 1966, created from a blend of grapes from the young vines of the Château‟s central vineyard, called L‟Enclos, along with mature fruit from parcels outside L‟Enclos, giving Les Forts de Latour it‟s unique and distinct quality. The Pauillac de Château Latour, produced yearly since 1990, is a classically-styled Pauillac, the archetype of Bordeaux, with a wonderfully elegant fruit component and superb balance, giving a sense of the Grand Vin on a smaller scale. Vintage 2009 is perhaps the finest vintage of the Pauillac, and is a worthy competitor to clarets of any class. Highlights from this category include:

Lot 356
Les Forts de Latour – Vintage 1982
1 jeroboam
Estimate: HK$20,000 – 25,000


“The 1982 Forts de Latour is a marvellous wine and showing extremely well. On the nose there is a lovely balance between fresh black cherry fruit character and more evolved notes of cedar, Havana cigar, and wood smoke. On the palate the tannins are silky and all of the structural elements are harmonious and fine, yet there is a wonderful persistence on the palate. Very nice indeed.” Charles Curtis MW, November 2010.

Lot 389-391
Les Forts de Latour – Vintage 2009
12 bottles
Estimate: HK$28,000 – 32,000


“Perhaps the finest example ever made (including the extraordinary 1982)…. Prodigiously rich and thick with an amazingly long finish of 50 seconds, this astonishing second wine will undoubtedly put on weight before bottling, and should last for 25-30 years.” 93-95 points, Robert Parker, April 2010.

Lot 392
Pauillac de Château Latour – Vintage 2009
1 twelve-litre bottle
Estimate: HK$8,000 – 10,000


“The 2009 Pauillac (a serious effort that should not be dismissed in any vintage) tips the scales at 13.6% alcohol. Composed of slightly more Cabernet Sauvignon than Merlot, it exhibits a dense purple color as well as plenty of creme de cassis, cedarwood and forest floor notes, tremendous purity, a full-bodied opulence, and a succulent, unctuous texture. This terrific effort should drink nicely for a decade or more.

There is no doubting that Director Frédéric Engerer and owner François Pinault are thrilled with what they have accomplished at Latour. These three wines are hugely different in price, but all are extraordinary.” 91-93 points, Robert Parker, April 2010.

*Estimates do not include buyer's premium



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