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Lafite ’12 Vintage Holding Steady at $5,790 a Case Set in August

Chateau Lafite-Rothschild Cellar and Vineyards
Chateau Lafite-Rothschild's cellar and vineyards in Pauillac, France. Photographer: Elin McCoy/Bloomberg

Thirty bottles of 2012 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild sold for 3,620 pounds ($5,790) a case on the Liv-ex market last week, holding steady at the level established last month amid selling pressure on other top Bordeaux vintages.

While the vintage changed hands at 3,700 pounds as recently as Sept. 13, the two deals on Sept. 16 and Sept. 20 affirmed the level at which it sold in mid-May, a month after its release to the market, according to data on Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index, tracking leading Bordeaux vintages, has declined since March 15, paring an 8 percent gain made in the previous 11 weeks to leave it 3 percent up since the start of this year. Lafite, a first-growth wine estate in the Pauillac region on the left bank of the Gironde estuary, is one of the highest-priced growers of Medoc with Chateau Latour, Chateau Mouton-Rothschild and Chateau Margaux.

“The 2012 was easily the cheapest Lafite available on the market and its shrewd pricing was praised by merchants,” Liv-ex said it in its Cellar Watch monthly market report. “Since the release, the wine’s market price has remained stable.”

Still the vintage is down 12 percent from a peak of 4,107 pounds at which one case found a buyer on Liv-ex in April, immediately after its release.

Family Estate

The market price of the 2012 Lafite is the estate’s cheapest in the past 35 years, according to merchant data compiled by Liv-ex. The vintage was rated in a range of 92 to 95 on a 100-point scale by U.S. critic Robert Parker in an April online tasting note, putting it below the 2008, 2009 and 2010 wines.

Chateau Lafite-Rothschild has more than 100 hectares (247 acres) planted with red-grape vines. Cabernet Sauvignon typically makes up from 80 percent to 95 percent of its wine, with Merlot from 5 percent to 20 percent, and smaller quantities of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

The vineyards, owned by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite), date back at least to the 17th century and the estate has been under the control of the Rothschild family since 1868, when Baron James de Rothschild, then head of its French branch, acquired the property.

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