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

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.

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