Lafite's Mystique Lures Wine Bidders to Spend $1.82
19th December 2008
By William Cohen -
the economic meltdown, many bidders thought
financial jitters would mean softer prices. However
a top-quality, single- owner collection, mostly
consisted of first-growth Bordeaux reds and Burgund
Domaine de la Romanee Conti, all were purchased on
release. Most were in original wooden cases and
perfectly stored, which command a premium.
One of the eye-opening auction trends of the past
two years has been the rise of the Lafite brand,
especially in Asia. Prices of older vintages are
double the price of those in Bordeaux first. Nobody
saw this coming when a particular demographic
attacks a specific type of wine, i.e. Lafite''.
At a recent auction in New York, people battled
against each other for the first case of 1982 Lafite,
taking it for over $50k ($5ka bottle), a world
record, beating case lots of auction darling 1982
Chateau Petrus. The six other cases of '82 Lafite
went for $33k to $40k. Two years ago, it traded for
approximately $10k a case.
A private wine club owner said “A single bottle of
'82 in a retail shop is $10k. It would be displayed
like a treasure, people do business while drinking,
so if you treat to such a great, expensive bottle of
wine, you will be taken more seriously''.
Many people have said Lafite is popular because the
name is easier to pronounce, an Asian representative
pointed out that Lafite was the first wine to be
identified in China as “great''. Its not just Asia
who buys Lafite. It's a favorite in the U.K. and
A recent wine investment fund (who picked up an
imperial of 2000 and cases of '96 and '86 magnums)
suggested, “most prices are holding because
provenance is the name of the game''.
Lafite has always been Bordeaux's most famous
property and its wine the most elegant, with more
finesse than power. The 1980s bottles, “82 and 86”
are the stars, with layers of flavour and luscious
ripe fruit unlike the 1970 bottles “75, and 76”
which are seen to be dinner disappointments. It is
noted that the “85 is succulence and finesse, the 88
is tight and structured and the 89 is developed,
with a mineral-tinged and smooth taste”. Out of the
10 vintages from the 90s, the deep, concentrated 95
and 96 is powerful, intense and higher- priced 96.