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Latour challenges Lafite dominance

Château Lafite’s supremacy in the Far East may be under threat as Asian buyers become more sophisticated.

Using evidence showing Lafite 2010 trading at a 2% discount to Latour from the same vintage, Jeremy Howard, CEO of online wine merchant Slurp, told the drinks business, “Personally I think Lafite’s dominance is over.”

While Lafite and Latour 2010 have identical Parker scores of 98-100, the former is trading at £12,500 per case compared to Latour’s £12,750.

Although Howard acknowledged that this could be a “short term anomaly”, it is more likely, he said, “The Lafite brand dominance is being eroded.”

Already, in terms of Lafite’s trading prices for a range of vintages, he pointed out “the gap is closing, so Lafite will be the first among equals, not head and shoulders above the other first growths.”

Explaining the reason for this development he added, “We have noticed through a much more discerning trading pattern as the Asian market is getting much more sophisticated – it is becoming more focused on scores and years; it’s developing a more Western perspective on the wines.”

Hence, Howard has noticed a reduced interest in lesser vintages such as 2007, as well as increased demand for Latour in the last couple of months, both through and

This, he added, “was mainly because back vintages [of Latour] are trading at 60-80% less than Lafite, despite the same rating, and that’s turning heads.”

Indeed, a detailed comparison of Lafite versus Latour prices by Slurp analysts has shown the 2004 vintage of Lafite trading at a 66% price premium to Latour – £8,600 to £5,195 – despite identical Parker scores (95 points each).

Further, the 2000 vintage shows an ever greater price differential and, despite both wines receiving 98 points from Parker, Lafite commands a 76% premium, trading at £22,500 versus £12,800 for Latour.

“We look at the market a lot and we look at it with financial analysts’ eyes – we are always looking for anomalies and things our customers can profit from,” concluded Howard.


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