Lafite ’09 Sets Record Low Over Past Month Amid Subdued Demand

Sixty bottles of 2009 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, a Medoc first-growth wine, sold below the vintage’s previous record low of 6,600 pounds ($11,030) in the past month as demand for top Bordeaux wines remained subdued.

A 12-bottle case sold for 6,000 pounds on Feb. 20 and two more at the same price on Feb. 25, the cheapest level to date, according to data on Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website. A further case fetched 6,400 pounds on March 7 and 12 more bottles sold for the per-case equivalent of 6,500 pounds the same day, after two cases had touched 6,634 pounds each on Feb. 28.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index tracking top Bordeaux wines has fallen for 10 of the past 11 months, and retreated 3 percent last year after a 10 percent decline in 2012 and a 17 percent drop in 2011. The index has fallen 2 percent this year as investors and collectors have diversified into wines from other regions.

“Another month of declines for the Bordeaux first growths saw both old and recent vintages come under fire,” Liv-ex wrote in a market blog on March 3.

The Lafite 2009 vintage peaked on Liv-ex in February 2011 at 14,350 pounds a case, and has declined 55 percent since then, according to Cellar Watch data. It is down 35 percent from the 10,000-pound price at which it first traded in May 2010.

Auction History

Two cases sold at a Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. auction in Chicago in September, one for $11,950 and the other for $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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