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 slurp.asia 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 slurp.asia and slurpfinewines.com.

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.

 

One Response to “Latour challenges Lafite dominance”

  1. James Swann says:

    Reviews of wine auction prices vs. open market prices, with buyer’s premiums, consigner’s fees and other factors (taxes applicable, shipping) taken into account, show that buyers at Asian auctions continue to pay a premium over London market fine wine prices.

    It would appear, therefore, that for basically trophy wines price is not the first concern for the very wealthy. Nevertheless, it is likely that, whereas such auctions may continue to be the preserve of some first growths, overall the open market remains the most competitive place to buy, or sell.

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