This morning sees one of the year’s major releases, the ever-transcendental Lafite Rothschild. In 2020 this great Estate has made one of the left bank wines of the vintage, awarded a potential 100-point score from James Suckling. It has been ordained 96-98 from Neal Martin of Vinous, who along with his stablemate Antonio Galloni conclude that it is a “super-classic” and “quintessential’” Lafite Rothschild. Jeb Dunnuck’s near perfect score of 97-99 ties with a serious promise of longevity, commenting that “It’s going to be just about immortal.”
Last year, Lafite released just 50% of their normal quantities to market and during our virtual tasting with them, they have informed us that they plan to continue releasing less stock to the market. This has and will continue to put considerable pressure on supply. Indeed, since the release of the 2011 vintage which saw a reset of their pricing model, Lafite Rothschild has increased 31% on average. Furthermore, last year’s 2019 release has already appreciated 17.4% to £6,000 and the 2018 is trading 30% higher than its release price of £5,980. The 21.9% appreciation that this vintage has seen in the last 12 months was also pushed on by the special labelling, that said, the 2016 has appreciated even more – over 26.7% over the last 12 months. Furthermore, the 2009 and 2010 trade at an average of £7,900, a 25% premium to today’s release price £2,940 per case of six or £5,880 per case of 12.
This world-famous Chateau is certainly leading the charge in the resurgence of the Bordeaux market and we expect this very healthy appreciation to continue. This is driven not just by lack of supply but by increasing demand from across the globe – it is of course the darling of Asia, but there is also enormous demand in Europe and the US, the latter of which has been buying a great deal since the Trump tariffs were lifted. As can be seen from the table below, this is a perennial buy and an allocation to cherish.
Lafite Rothschild is a powerhouse in terms of brand, reputation and presently commands the highest prices amongst its First Growth peers. Lafite is the largest of the First Growths both in area and production and occupies the northern tip of Pauillac close to the border with St. Estephe in the Medoc. Evidence of the existence of wine-making on the site of Lafite dates back to the 14th Century and records of the wine itself date from 1641. In 1868 Lafite was purchased by Baron James de Rothschild, a member of the famous banking family and has been presided over by Eric de Rothschild since 1974. Within the Pauillac appellation Lafite is considered the most elegant, feminine wine when compared to the masculine Latour and the exotic fruitiness of Mouton Rothschild.