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Lafite ’09 Slides Back to Liv-Ex Record Low of $10,800 a Case

Samples of 2009 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Sit in Bordeaux
Barrel samples of the 2009 vintage of Chateau Lafite Rothschild are displayed in Bordeaux. The 2009 Lafite is the estate’s second-most expensive of the past 15 years, trailing only the 2000 vintage, according to merchant data compiled by Liv-ex. Photographer: Elin McCoy/Bloomberg

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Three cases of 2009 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, a Medoc first-growth wine, sold for 6,600 pounds ($10,800) each in the past month, matching the Liv-ex exchange’s record low in October amid subdued Bordeaux demand.

Two transactions took place on Dec. 13 and Dec. 27 on Liv-ex, while a third case of the vintage sold for the same amount on Jan. 2 on the U.K.-based Cavex wine market, data on the two markets’ websites showed.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index tracking top Bordeaux wines fell 3 percent last year after a 10 percent decline in 2012 and a 17 percent drop in 2011. The index gained in the first quarter last year and then fell about 10 percent since mid-March as investors and collectors shunned the market or diversified.

The price is “a little bit lower than we have seen,” Stephen Maunder, chief executive officer of Cavex, said by e-mail. It’s “too early to tell if Bordeaux prices are continuing to soften as they did in December.”

A case of the same wine also sold on Liv-ex last month at 6,700 pounds while another 12 bottles fetched 6,800 and a further 12 bottles 6,920 pounds, according to data on Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website.

Auction Trading

The Lafite 2009 vintage peaked on Liv-ex in February 2011 at 14,350 pounds a case, and has declined 54 percent since then, according to Cellar Watch data. It is down 34 percent from the 10,000-pound price at which it first traded in May 2010.

Two cases sold at a Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. auction in Chicago in September, one for $11,950 and the other $10,755, while a case fetched 8,225 pounds at a Sotheby’s sale in London in October, according to data on the auction houses’ websites.

The 2009 Lafite is the estate’s second-most expensive of the past 15 years, trailing only the 2000 vintage, according to merchant data compiled by Liv-ex. The 2009 wine was rated 99+ on a 100-point scale by U.S. critic Robert Parker in a February 2012 online tasting note, making it the highest-rated vintage on that measure since the 2003 wine.

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

To contact the reporter on this story: Guy Collins in London at guycollins@bloomberg.net

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