x
  • Country ranking ?

    112
  • Producer ranking ?

    6
  • Decanting time

    6h
  • When to drink

    from 2025
  • Food Pairing

    Grilled Flank Steak with Parsley Sauce

Lafite Sets Auction Wine Record at $230,000 a Bottle

Three bottles of Chateau Lafite’s 1869 vintage each sold for a record price of HK$1.8 million ($230,000) at a sale in Hong Kong last night, underlining Asia’s dominance of the auction market for trophy label wines.

All three were bought by the same Asian telephone bidder, said Sotheby’s, which offered almost 2,000 bottles of Lafite shipped directly from the cellars of the chateau in Pauillac, near Bordeaux. The 1869s -- the oldest bottles in a range of vintages that spanned 139 years -- were each estimated to sell for between HK$40,000 and HK$60,000, said Sotheby’s.

Lafite had also held the previous auction record for a single bottle of wine. Malcolm Forbes, the U.S. publisher, paid 105,000 pounds ($168,000) for a 1787 vintage engraved with the initials of President Thomas Jefferson at Christie’s International in London in 1985.

“This was a perfect storm,” Serena Sutcliffe, Sotheby’s international head of wine, said in a telephone interview after the sale. “Lafite is Bordeaux’s most starry name, the provenance gave buyers extra confidence and the timing was right.”

The auction raised HK$65.5 million with fees, against a high estimate of HK$19.5 million at hammer prices. Every one of the 284 lots found buyers.

Source: Sotheby's 

Bottles of 1869 vintage Lafite sold for a record $HK 1.8 million each at Sotheby's Oct.

All eight of the wine sales Sotheby’s has held in Hong Kong this year achieved 100 percent selling rates, the New York-based company said. As the Asian buyer had acquired three bottles of Lafite 1869, there was a likelihood that at least one of them may be opened and drunk, dealers said.

Wines produced before the phylloxera epidemic devastated France’s vineyards in the 1870s rarely appear on the market, Sutcliffe said.

“There will be a huge curiosity to try a great pre- phylloxera vintage,” Sutcliffe said. “There’s a lot of speculation about why the Chinese like Lafite so much. People say it’s because the name is easy to pronounce in Mandarin. Actually, they like the taste, otherwise they wouldn’t pay such high prices for these wines.”

All 10 of the auction’s most expensive lots fell to Asian private collectors. A single bottle of Lafite 1870 sold for HK$1.3 million, and a 12-bottle case of the chateau’s 1982 vintage for HK$1 million, against low estimates of HK$80,000 and HK$280,000 respectively.

Lafite came top of the first official quality-based classification of Medoc wines in 1855. The chateau was bought by Baron James de Rothschild in 1868, and bottles have since been labeled Lafite-Rothschild.

By Scott Reyburn  Oct 29, 2010 

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The Story

The Château Lafite estate run by the Rothschilds is, with its 100 hectares of cultivated land, the largest of the main Pauillac vineyards.

It is located in the highest part of the area and the view from its château, with its conical towers that appear on the label, takes in the banks of the River Gironde, which flows nearby. The wines are a blend of four different varieties of grape – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Lafite matures slightly earlier than other Premier Cru wines in the region on account of the generous amounts of Merlot used, and it is this that also makes the wine more delicate and subtle than those wines which are completely dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon.

“Lafite has a soul, a beautiful, generous, kindly soul. Lafite turns bare earth into heaven. Lafite is harmony, a harmony between man and nature, because without our magnificent winegrowers, nothing would be accomplished.”
Baron Eric de Rothschild 


Of the five Premier Cru wines in the region, Château Lafite to my mind has managed to produce the year’s best wine in many of the top years in 1900th centrury. The times I have spent in the company of a 1934, 1953, 1959, 1982 and 1986 have been unforgettable. And it was then that I always remembered how many wine critics fondly describe Lafite as ‘the perfection of elegance’.

Vineyard soil: fine gravel mixed with aeolien sands on a bedrock of tertiary limestone
Production area: 103 ha
Grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (71%), Merlot (25%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (1%)
Average age of vines: 30 years
Harvest method: hand picked
Winemaking: the vinification is nowadays done with all the sophisticated instruments which modern oenology has created. Fermentation takes place in large oak vats in which the musts remain for 18 to 25 days.
Ageing: the wines are aged entirely in new barrels for 18 to 24 months. During this time,the wine is racked 7 times and is fined with the whites of 6 eggs per barrel. Only certain vats are selected to make the Grand Vin, Lafite. The others are used to make the second wine of Lafite, the “Carruades de Lafite”.

 

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Vintage 2010

2010/ Cabernet Sauvignon 87 %, Merlot 13 %
The vineyard cycle began with a cold, relatively wet winter, resulting in a slightly later bud-break than in 2009, in mid-April. Growth was then boosted by dry, sunny weather in April. May and June were characterized by alternating periods of rain and sunshine. June began with a cold spell that complicated the flowering of the Merlot, resulting in flower abortion and uneven grape size.

Fortunately, July was very dry (less than 20 mm of rain) with relatively high temperatures, which helped the vines to catch up from the delays caused during flowering. August and September were very dry, with beautiful daytime temperatures and cool nights creating ideal conditions for the grapes to slowly reach optimum ripeness.

 

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Average Bottle Price

2016 2015 2014 2013
695€ -11.5% 785€ +13.9% 689€ -27.9% 956€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

18 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep, Ruby red and Healthy

ending

Long, Round and Extensive

nose

Youthful, Pure, Opulent and Ripe

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Good texture, Perfectly balanced, Balanced, Youthful, Rich, Ripe, Full, Dry and Silky tannins

Verdict

Transparent and Exotic

Written Notes

Deep ruby in colour, the Lafite has wonderful aromatics, with a gorgeous perfume of violets, cedar, cassis and blackberries. With its velvety tannins and layered, delicate flavours, there is a succulent juicy character to its fruit profile, accented with hints of violet. It is a gorgeous wine that is filled with delicate layers of flavours and at the same time is not heavy or dense. This is clearly a very successful vintage for Lafite in both style and intensity, producing a wine that will outlive the outstanding 2009.

  • 100p
Lafite Rothschild 2010 (barrel sample) 97-99p Tasted in April 2011. This wine was strong and powerful, extremely tannic and concentrated, long and with iron rock structure and mega long aftertaste. One of the best wines of the vintage.
  • 98p
2010 Château Lafite Rothschild, a bit boring to have such a young wine as number one, but tasted three times with very consistent notes this year. This wine shows such a balance, pedigree, nuances, layers and the aftertaste is mindboggling. Fantastic length. 100
  • 100p

Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Very good

Release state price

600€

Investment potential

Excellent

Fake factory

None

Glass time

2h

Drinking temperature

17

Inside Information

Parker 98 points The 2010 Lafite Rothschild, a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Merlot (a 3% difference from the barrel sample shown two years ago), achieved relatively high alcohol of 13.32%, according to administrator Charles Chevalier. The wine is very impressive, not as fleshy, flamboyant and massive as the 2009, but nevertheless, a big, rich, full-throttle Lafite-Rothschild meant to age a half century or more. Deep purple, with notes of white chocolate, mocha, cedar and charcoal as well as hints of vanillin and creme de cassis, the wine is full-bodied yet has that ethereal lightness that makes it a Lafite. Rich, with good acidity, precision and freshness, this is a slightly zestier version of the 2009 as well as more restrained and structured than that particular vintage. It will need at least 10-12 years of cellaring and keep for 50+ years.

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Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

100p
 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Pro (China)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 2010  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

Deep ruby in colour, the Lafite has wonderful aromatics, with a gorgeous perfume of violets, cedar, cassis and blackberries. With its velvety tannins and layered, delicate flavours, there is a succulent juicy character to its fruit profile, accented with hints of violet. It is a gorgeous wine that is filled with delicate layers of flavours and at the same time is not heavy or dense. This is clearly a very successful vintage for Lafite in both style and intensity, producing a wine that will outlive the outstanding 2009.

4m 2d ago

98p
 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 2010  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Lafite Rothschild 2010 (barrel sample) 97-99p
Tasted in April 2011. This wine was strong and powerful, extremely tannic and concentrated, long and with iron rock structure and mega long aftertaste. One of the best wines of the vintage."

1y 4m ago

98p
 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 2010  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Lafite Rothschild 2010 (barrel sample) 97-99p
Tasted in April 2011. This wine was strong and powerful, extremely tannic and concentrated, long and with iron rock structure and mega long aftertaste. One of the best wines of the vintage."

1y 4m ago

100p
 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 2010  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"2010 Château Lafite Rothschild, a bit boring to have such a young wine as number one, but tasted three times with very consistent notes this year. This wine shows such a balance, pedigree, nuances, layers and the aftertaste is mindboggling. Fantastic length. 100"

1y 8m ago

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Lafite-Rothschild 2010,
Château Lafite-Rothschild

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BWW -Best Wine of the World -competition has started.  We welcome You to join thousands of experts to choose the best wines of the world. You decide the winners by voting! 

 

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