Both Bordeaux 2007 and two back vintages of Lafite have hit the headlines this month. The region got off to a slow start this year, accounting for only 61.6% of all trade as opposed to the 74.7% average of 2016, but select brands and vintages have shown good activity so far.

Lafite Rothschild in numbers

Lafite was the most traded wine by value in January, taking 10.8% of the total Bordeaux share. Two vintages in particular traded at all time highs – the 2012 was on the market at 40.3% above its trade price one year ago, and the 2014 was also sold at its highest ever price.

The 2014 vintage in general did well last month, being the second most traded Bordeaux year after the great 2009 and 2010.

While several other Lafite wines remain far off their 2011 peak prices (the ‘05, ‘08, ‘09 and ‘10 are all offered well below their pre-China boom levels), it’s the 2008 which has shown the largest variation.

China’s Lafite love affair

During En Primeur, the 2008 vintage traded at £1,800 per 12×75. In 2009, this rose to £3,500 following the release of a Parker score of 98-100 for the wine. In 2010, the figure jumped further to a startling £10,160 when it was announced that the bottle would be engraved with the Chinese ‘number eight’ symbol.

“It’s gone bonkers,” said one wine merchant back in 2010. “We sold 75 cases this morning. We literally cannot buy any more of it. It shows that it doesn’t matter what Parker says – it’s completely irrelevant. In China, this wine is now the ultimate gift you can give.”

We might do well to remember this comment now that Parker is no longer officially on the scene, whereas China certainly is. Despite Asia’s sudden infatuation with Burgundy – which took a solid 18.4% of overall trade last month – Lafite will always be dear to their hearts, making it as secure an investment as ever.

Top Bordeaux wines of 2007

Going back to Robert Parker, in his En Primeur report on Bordeaux 2007 he wrote – “most consumers will probably love the style of the vintage’s top wines because they are so flattering, seductive, and fruit-forward”, adding that they “should age surprisingly well for 10-15 years”.

As we are now entering the tenth year a review of progress is in order, and progress it certainly is.

On average, the First Growths are up 69% since release, outperforming the broader market. Since 2008, the Bordeaux 500 index has increased by 41.9%.

The 2007 First Growths are 15.6% off their peak levels on average. Seven of the 50 wines examined are currently at their highest ever market price – these are Angelus, Cos d’Estournel, Grand Puy Lacoste, Le Pin, Palmer, Pavie and Vieux Chateau Certan.

The wider fine wine market

Along with Burgundy storming ahead of its 2016 average, Italy accounted for 6.0% of total trade, the Rhone 2.5% and the USA 2.6% with Screaming Eagle and Dominus taking the lion’s share.
While Lafite was the most traded wine by value, Mouton Rothschild (5.4%) and Burgundy’s Ponsot Clos Roche Vv (4.2%) also saw high levels of activity in January.