Chateau Lafite Rothschild has released what it calls 'the most affordable Lafite on the market' with its 2012 vintage, at €330 ex-Bordeaux.
This price is down 21% on 2011, but 154% more than the 2008 price of €130.
Lafite follows Mouton, which released last week at €240, making it the cheapest first growth in almost any vintage.
Lafite has also taken the unusual step of releasing all its wine in one lot, or ‘tranche’. The top properties will normally release several tranches at increasing prices.
Last year Lafite offered two tranches, first at €350 and a second at €450.
Christophe Salin, the managing director of Domaines Barons de Rothschild, told Decanter.com, ‘We decided to take the decision to make this vintage the most affordable Lafite in the market. The cheapest vintage you can find in the market, the 2007, is still €460 to €480 per bottle.
‘This year, we are doing a “full IPO” in banking terms and offering only one tranche, for €280. We have put all our wines in the market at one me.’
Initial reactions from at least one London merchant were positive. Gary Boom at Bordeaux Index said, ‘that price is perfectly reasonable and we’ll have no trouble selling it.’
However, he added, the ‘enormously frustrating’ thing was the allocation the merchants get from the negociants. ‘It’s down by 20% this year, and we get 40% less of Carruades.
‘The price is good but the problem is getting hold of the stock.’
Negociants attributed the drop in allocations to a vintage in which yields were much lower than average.
The general feeling in from courtiers and negociants in Bordeaux is that the price is high; €300 would have had more impact on the market. One broker told Decanter.com, ‘After the brilliant price of Mouton, Lafite at €300 would have helped the good buying atmosphere.’
Lafite’s second wine, Carruades de Lafite, has been released at €100-€105, down 11% on last year’s price.
Also out today are L’Evangile €100 (no change) and Sociando Mallet at €19-€20 (6% down on last year).
Steven Spurrier for Decanter gave Lafite 2012 18.5 out of 20, with the note, ‘Vibrant fruit from 91% Cabernet, not yet expressive but all the firm elegance of Lafite for a very good future.’
All prices quoted are ex-Bordeaux, ie the price charged by the negociants to wine merchants.
Additional reporting by Jane Anson in Bordeaux and Jeannie Cho Lee in Hong Kong
See Decanter’s full Bordeaux 2012 ratings