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Château Lascombes 2005 (12x75cl) @ £650 per case RPJ: 95 pts
 

Although officially classed as a Second Growth, Lascombes is not generally considered part of the ‘Super Second’ club, alongside wines such as Cos, Ducru and Leoville Las Cases.

However, it is considered by many as one of the best value left bank Châteaux, similar to the likes of Grand Puy Lacoste. In recent years, the quality in the wines produced has improved greatly, receiving significantly higher critic scores since 2000 than previously:

 

Average RPJ score
2000 – Present: 92.6
1982 – 2000: 82.6
 

Overview


Owner       MACSF
President       Dominique Befve
Annual Production (Grand Vin)       20,000 cases
Classification       2ème Grand Cru Classé
Appellation       Margaux
Interesting Fact       At a disclosed €200 Million, Lascombes is the most
expensive Left Bank estate ever to be sold.

This improvement has been, in part, down to corporate ownership firstly by American investment firm Colony Capital who took control in 2001 and more recently French insurance company MACSF, who bought the estate for $200 million in 2011. However, much of the credit has to be directed to wine consultant Michel Rolland who was tasked by Colony Capital to improve the quality of the wine shortly after their takeover in late 2001. His work has continues to this day, with MACSF having kept on the entire management team instituted by the previous regime.

The 2005, is therefore the standout vintage of the recent transformation, receiving the highest critic scores ever for a vintage of Ch. Lascombes.


Critic Appraisal: RPJ Tasting Notes


“A gorgeous example of Lascombes, the 2005, a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot, continues the remarkable turn-around in quality that began five years ago. A stunningly opulent wine with a dense purple color, the 2005 possesses a beautiful perfume of spring flowers, blueberries, blackberries, creosote, and graphite, full body, silky but noticeable tannins, a layered mouthfeel, and a stunning, 45+-second finish. This is a brilliant, modern-styled Margaux that should age for 30-35 years.”
 

Robert Parker Jnr Wine Advocate (176), April 2008


Investment Overview


From an international perspective, the improving quality of the wine, association with Michel Rolland and corporate ownership has seen Lascombes establish a strong reputation in the emerging markets. As a result, recent vintages of Lascombes have been the subject of strong secondary market trading. Whilst, we would be cautious to label Lascombes an ‘investment – grade’ wine unilaterally, we would encourage investors to look at the top vintages such as 2005 as smart investment buys.

5 Year Performance Graph

The performance over the last few years, whilst not spectacular, has been consistent. Currently yielding returns of c. 10-12% per annum, there is the potential for this wine to further improve in performance as the wine becomes scarcer, improves with age and hits its drinking window.

Perhaps the most discerning indicator of this great vintage’s potential, is the current trading price for Lascombes back-vintages:

 

Wine

RPJ

Price (12x75cl)

Lascombes 2000

90

£750

Lascombes 1996

80

£650

Lascombes 1990

85

£750

Lascombes 1982

87

£950


Given that all of the ‘pre-Coloney Capital’ vintages are undoubtedly inferior, there is a clear price discrepancy that can be expected to level out as the wine enters its drinking window (Parker anticipated a window of 2012-2035+). What’s more, the overall quality of the 2005’s has started to show in recent times and The Wine Advocate’s most recent Vintage Chart is testament to the incredible quality, with the ’05 Margaux’s usurping the ’00 and Parker indicating that the vintage is the best he’s EVER tasted in the appellation!
 


Summary


In conclusion we would recommend Lascombes 2005 to investors because:

• Highest ever scored vintage
• Huge improvement in wine making in last 10 years
• Developing a strong brand identity through corporate ownership and marketing
• Interest in emerging markets
• Association with Michel Rolland
• Strong track record
• Outperformed general market index since Jan 2011
 

     
         
         
         
 
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