‘Would you spend €130 of your own money on a bottle of this wine ?’ I asked fellow tasters who included wine writers and restaurateurs.
‘Not really’ was the unanimous response.
We were tasting Louis Latour Corton-Charlemange Grand Cru wines from 2008 to 2010 and we had just been told the retail price.
Louis-Fabrice Latour was conducting the tasting and he went into considerable detail about the terroir within which the wines are produced. At the end of the 19th century his family pulled up entire vineyards of Aligoté and Pinot Noir vines to replace them with Chardonnay and since then they have been producing world-renowned white wines.
The vertical tasting reinforced the consistent elegance of Corton-Charlemange and the high scores awarded by ‘Wine Spectator’ , ‘Wine Enthusiast’ and Jancis Robinson were further endorsement. Just where these wines sit in the hierarchy was illustrated by the ‘food paring’ suggestions which included lobster and foie gras.
Not ‘Sex and the City’ Chardonnays then.
The vertical tasting, which also included Chateau Corton Grancey Grand Cru Pinot Noirs from 2008 to 2012 (at around €100 a bottle), illustrated that excellence+scarcity+demand=high prices. With a relatively small estate and a devotion to careful wine-making, Louis Latour can only survive if its wines are of the highest quality and can command high premium prices. In our world in which 1% of people control 90% of wealth, there will always be customers who can afford and appreciate such exclusivity,.