09 Lafite trails Latour

The 2009 vintages of Lafite and Latour find themselves in very different places four years after their release, with a 30% gap in pricing now separating the two.

LatourFine wine index Lix-ex considered the two first growths on its blog. Saying that the two Pauillacs had “found a level” after the Asian-driven bull run of 2010-2011 followed by the gradual slide in prices the vintage has seen in places.

Although Latour was actually the more expensive release (£12,000 a case to Lafite’s £11,000), the demand for Lafite in Asia drove the first growth to a 7% premium over Latour extremely quickly even though the former was rated 99+ by critic Robert Parker and the latter 100.

Since then Lafite has suffered a steeper drop in value and now trades for around £7,000 a case compared to Latour’s £10,000 – a 30% price disparity.

Speaking to the drinks business about the current state of affairs, Toby Herbertson from Liv-ex explained that a continuing appreciation of scores and the unsustainable pricing of Lafite where, essentially, the cause.

“A Parker 100-points is a Parker 100-points,” he said, “even though there was a wealth of 100-points bestowed (a record 19) it’s a 100-point first growth from a fine vintage and I think it is important and buyers value it.”

With the fine wine world in general noticing a slowdown in demand from China, the evidence of that market’s impact on Lafite’s pricing is clear.

“It’s not that people aren’t interested,” said Herbertson, “but having risen to such lofty heights the fallback was going to be noticeable.”

Although the fine wine world has seen a lot of diversification recently, Herbertson did say that with a vintage of 09’s quality and prices that were “more attractive” than they were at release – at the top end anyway – there was still a lot to recommend in 2009.

Cheaper releases such as Montrose and Pontet Canet have actually gone up in value (both are 100-pointers) where others have come down, they are still under £3,000 a case – £2,200 and £1,600 respectively – and with the exception of Latour, all of the first growths are under £10,000 a case.

Herbertson added there would likely always be a debate between the 09 and 10 camps, but said, “it’s almost a moot point, they’re both great vintages.

“Buyers who’ve got money to spend are looking to pick up stock and 2009 is still a compelling story.

“There’s a wealth of options for picking up great wines at prices which are more attractive than their opening prices.”

The Liv-ex “Power List” will appear in the December issue of db and the November issue of db Hong Kong which will be available at the HKTDC fair next month.

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