Lafite ’08 Selling at $9,000 Lags Liv-Ex Fine Wine 50 This Year

Five cases of 2008 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild sold at or below 5,800 pounds ($9,000) on the Liv-ex market in the past month, down from its level at the end of 2012 and lagging the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index’s four percent gain.

Two cases sold for 5,699 pounds each on Aug. 16 and another two for 5,700 pounds apiece on Aug. 20, while a fifth fetched 5,800 pounds on Aug. 23 and a further case sold for fractionally more at 5,830 pounds on Aug. 24, according to data on Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website. That compared with 6,000 pounds Dec. 28.

While the lack of momentum has left 2008 Lafite trailing some of its older vintages such as the 1998 over the period, it does signal a return to stability since August last year following an 18-month price slide. 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.

Bordeaux first growths “provided much of the impetus for the market’s decline” evident in July, Liv-ex said in a market commentary blog earlier this month, and in a separate note described left-bank Bordeaux growers as “out of fashion.”

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 has declined since March 15, paring an 8 percent gain made in the previous 10 weeks. While Lafite ’08 has now established stability around the 5,800-pound level, it touched a high for 2013 of 6,800 pounds in May and 10 cases fetched 5,635 pounds apiece at a Bonhams auction in London last month.

Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2008 Lafite is the estate’s fifth-most expensive of the past 10 years, according to merchant data compiled by Liv-ex. It was rated 98 on a 100-point scale by U.S. critic Robert Parker, putting it among the vineyard’s top four in that period.

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 being acquired by Baron James de Rothschild, then head of its French branch, in August 1868.

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