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Lafite Rothschild 2020 release: ‘This should soar’

Château Lafite Rothschild has become the first of the first growths to show its hand during the 2020 Bordeaux en primeur campaign, releasing its wine at a price that ‘should soar’.

The Pauillac domaine is one of a quartet of châteaux from Les Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) to confirm their 2020 release prices today (11 June), alongside second wine Carruades de Lafite, L’Evangile from Pomerol and Pauillac’s Duhart-Milon.

Lafite’s release price of €475 ex-négociant is up 20% on 2019, said Liv-ex, pointing out that it sits at a significantly lower price to the lower-rated 2015 vintage, which is €545.

An impressed Jane Anson of Decanter gave Lafite Rothschild 2020 97 points, saying: ‘The kaleidoscope of flavours and aromatics that Lafite does so well is fully on display, nothing trying too hard, a velvet texture to the tannins, where the cassis fruit, earth, crushed stone and graphite is held in from beginning to end.’

The international trade is offering the wine at about £490 per bottle, 8% down on the 2019, which has appreciated in value by 15% over the past year, said Wine Lister – which pointed out that the 2020 falls ‘well below’ the market prices of comparable recent vintages, such as 2018 and 2016. ‘This should soar,’ Wine Lister added.

Carruades de Lafite 2020 has been released with a UK merchant price of about £177 per bottle, with Anson praising its ‘ton of impact and intensity’, giving a score of 92 points.

‘As ever with this excellent price performer, the 2020 vintage comes onto the market comfortably under all recent back vintages available, and should be snapped up quickly,’ said Wine Lister.

Turning to Pomerol, Château l’Evangile has been released at €180 ex-négociant, 33% higher than 2019’s opening price, prompting Liv-ex to highlight ‘multiple recent vintages’ of similar quality, available at lower prices.

Anson awarded the wine a high score of 98, calling it ‘gorgeous’ and praising its ‘pristine fruit, silky with a whoosh of menthol’. She added: ‘It elevates over the palate, both dense and light, with blueberry and raspberry fruits, and pulses of bitter almond and honeysuckle on the finish that gives focus and spice.’

Château Gruaud-Larose’s release price of €57.60 ex-négociant translates to a merchant price of about £58 per bottle, about 4% above the current prices of the 2019 and 2018 vintages, according to Wine Lister.

Giving the wine 95 points, Anson described it as ‘a big-shouldered St-Julien, but with a wide nuance of flavours’.

Liv-ex suggested that buyers might like to look at the 2016 vintage as a more affordable alternative.

St-Estèphe’s Château Phélan Ségur has been released with a merchant price of about £32 per bottle, said Liv-ex, up 17.4% on the current market price of the 2019 – which it said presented a ‘compelling’ alternative.

Awarding the 2020 wine 94 points, Anson described it as ‘excellent stuff’, adding: ‘The austerity to the tannins works in this wine’s favour, giving a juicy grip to the concentrated blackcurrant and bilberry fruits without strangling them.’

Among other recent releases, DBR (Lafite)-owned Château Duhart-Milon is being offered at about £57 per bottle, 9.6% higher than the current market price of the 2019, with ‘several back vintages’ appearing to offer better value, said Liv-ex.

St-Julien’s Château Talbot – like Duhart-Milon, awarded 95 points by Anson – has been released at about £39.90 per bottle, 8% up on the current price of the 2019.

Finally, Château Rauzan-Ségla from Margaux, scored at 96 points by Anson, is available for about £66.50 per bottle, 11% higher than remaining stocks of the 2019.

*Article corrected to say Lafite Rothschild 2020 is at a significantly lower price than the 2015, not a similar price. 

More on Bordeaux 2020 en primeur

Decanter Premium exclusive: Bordeaux 2020 score table

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