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Chateau Lafite, Mouton priced at €550 to wine merchants [updated]

Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Mouton Rothschild's first tranche of their 2009 en primeur wine will be sold by negociants to wine merchants at €550 per bottle.

The prices from the chateaux themselves are €450 per bottle: negociants say they will be selling the wine at €550, but the majority of merchants will not put the wine onto the market until larger quantities have become available.

For Lafite this is a rise of 323% from last year’s exit price, and 53% on 2005.

There is no further information on Mouton for the moment.

The leading First Growth estate, whose wines have far exceeded other First Growths in value over recent years, mainly due to strong demand in China, chose to bring out both Lafite and its second wine, Carruades de Lafite earlier than the other Firsts.

The quantity of the first tranche, however, was ‘tiny’ according to most reports, meaning that subsequent tranches will rise in price rapidly, and opening consumer offers in the UK should be seen at around £7,000-£8,000 per case.

Carruades de Lafite is at €68, which although far below the cost of recent vintages of this wine on the open market is still 79% above 2008 and 89% above 2005.

Here also, the amount of wine released is a fraction of the actual production, and subsequent releases are expected to rise sharply.

A leading Bordeaux source highlighted that chateaux such as Lafite were keeping back ever-increasing amounts of their production for sale in later years.

‘The en primeur campaign is a mere coup de pub (publicity stunt) for the money that is going to be made by the chateaux from these wines in the future.’

Other wines that came out at the end of last week include Smith Haut Lafitte at €52 ex Bordeaux (up 32% on 2005), Haut Bailly at €76.80, a rise of 71% on 2005, and Leoville Barton at €62.50, up 131% on 2008 and 26% on 2005.

Two dropped their price from 2005; La Couspaude at €33 and Beausejour Becot at €43.20 (down 14% and 4% respectively).

These two are very much in the minority – according to figures from Liv-ex, 2009 prices for the top 60 wines released are up, on average, 71% on 2008 and 23% on 2005.

The wines are reportedly selling through very fast, but most ascribe this to the small amounts that are being released.

[All prices quoted are ex-negociant – ie the price that wine merchants will pay negociants. Consumers should expect to pay at least 10% more than that]

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Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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