French billionaire businessman François Pinault has denied rumours that Château Latour, his Bordeaux wine estate valued at a minimum EUR200m (US$272m), is for sale.

Responding to speculation in the last week, Pinault's spokesperson, Anne-France Malrieu, told just-drinks today (5 January): "These rumours are totally unfounded and the château is not for sale."

The rumours followed news that Artemis, Pinault's holding company for his 94% stake in Latour, is facing financial difficulties after shares in various other companies lost value in 2008.

Bernard Magrez, fellow billionaire, Bordeaux château owner and Pinault's friend, has been named as a possible buyer for Latour. He declined to comment when contacted by just-drinks.

The 78-hectare Latour estate, which produces about 360,000 bottles of wine annually, was bought by Pinault in 1993 for EUR90m.

Recent vintages of Château Latour sell for between EUR200 and EUR900 per bottle, while a 12-bottle case of the 1961 vintage sold for a record EUR134,112 in Hong Kong last month.