Lafite Second Wine Carruades ’12 Climbs to Liv-Ex High of $1,660

Seventy-two bottles of 2012 Carruades de Lafite, the second wine of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, sold for 1,040 pounds ($1,660) a case on the Liv-ex market this week, setting a high for the year for the vintage.

The transaction is 3 percent up from the 1,012 pounds at which it traded on Sept. 6 and the 1,010 pounds it fetched in April soon after its release to the market, according to data on Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website. It is also 5 percent up from the low of 988 pounds it reached on May 3, as the price slid in its first week of trading on the London-based exchange.

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 1 percent up since the start of this year. Lafite, a first-growth wine estate in Pauillac on the left bank of the Gironde, is one of the highest-priced growers of Medoc along with Chateau Latour, Chateau Mouton-Rothschild and Chateau Margaux. Lafite’s second wine can benefit when investors shun the region’s more expensive rivals.

“September saw losses for all of the Liv-ex indices,” Liv-ex said in its monthly market commentary. “First growths were hardest hit.”

Family Estate

The market price of the 2012 Carruades de Lafite is the estate’s cheapest in the past quarter century, according to merchant data compiled by Liv-ex. The vintage was rated in a range of 87 to 89 on a 100-point scale by U.S. critic Robert Parker in an April online tasting note, putting it level with 2011 and below the previous five vintages.

Carruades contains a higher percentage of Merlot than Lafite's main wine and sells at less than one third of the price, according to Liv-ex data. The 2012 vintage of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild traded at 3,700 pounds on Liv-ex last week.

Lafite 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 main 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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