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  Lafite - The New Petrus? - 3rd November 2010
By Thomas Gearing (Director) - Cult Wines Ltd - http://www.cultwinesltd.com


Last week proved to be a quite historic week for the first growth Bordeaux Estate. On Tuesday they announced that the bottles for the 2008 vintage would adorn the Chinese symbol for the number ‘8’ to celebrate the Chateau’s plans to develop a vineyard in mainland china.

They claimed the symbol (shown above) offer(ed) a perfect representation of the slopes of the vineyard and commemorates the launch of our Chinese wine project’. Those of us, who are little more savvy, will realise that this decision may well have been driven by huge importance of the number 8 in Chinese culture and the fact it represents prosperity, wealth and fortune. The number 8 is viewed as such an auspicious number that even being assigned a number with several eights is considered very lucky.

There was no doubt that the price of Lafite 2008 would be affected and 48 hours later trading of the futures contract on the fine wine exchange Liv-ex increased from £8,800 to £10,670. An astonishing 21.25% increase in value. Almost all UK merchants sold out of Lafite 2008 (including ourselves) and the lucky few who have purchased the wine over the last 18 months – held on that little but tighter.

However the eventful week for Lafite wasn’t to end there. This announcement coincided with the Chateau’s first ever auction in Hong Kong, held by Sotheby’s on Friday 29th October. Around 2,000 bottles from Lafite’s private cellars went under the hammer including a number of En Primeur cases from both the 2008 and 2009 vintage. Whilst hammer prices were expected to be high – the extraordinary results took most of the industry by surprise with many cases trading at 2 and half times that of the UK market price.

The following sales were achieved across vintages 2009-1982:

The graph below compares the current UK market prices against today’s sales prices for the respective wines. With the 2009 vintage achieving sales in the region of £35,000 – three times more than thelowest available price on the UK market.


LAFITE ROTHSCHILD SALES: Hong Kong vs. UK price

This year some industry insiders claimed that Lafite would soon be trading at prices similar to Petrus, with Lafite from the lesser vintages trading above £10,000 and Lafite from the best vintages trading from £25,000+. Whilst many dismissed these claims out of hand, Friday’s auction seems to have confirmed that this may well be the direction Lafite prices are headed.

As a result of this landmark sale we have decided to compare the prices of Lafite achieved at auction (minus the buyer’s premium) against the current market prices of the respective vintages of Petrus.


LAFITE (HK) vs. PETRUS (UK):

Whilst the high prices achieved at auction were in part due to the wines coming straight from the private cellars of Lafite – empahsising the importance (and price) of provenance. There is certainly a pattern emerging between the high prices these two wines can achieve.

It will certainly be interesting to see how UK merchants react to last week’s activity – but for those who have purchased Lafite 09 and/or Lafite 08 they look to have a fantastic investment on their hands.



 

 

     
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
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