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Lafite 2009 Reaches Seven-Month High of $12,200 on Liv-ex Market
A case of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 2009 sold for 7,800 pounds ($12,200) on London’s Liv-ex wine market yesterday, a seven-month high on the exchange and extending gains which lifted it 7 percent from its December level, according to data on Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website. The Lafite vintage peaked at 14,350 pounds a case in February 2011 amid strong Asian demand, before a price slump which took it as low as 6,950 pounds on Dec. 14. Lafite is a first-growth Bordeaux wine from the Medoc and the 2009 vintage is its most expensive of the past five years, according to Liv-ex merchant data.
By Guy Collins
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”.
The beginning of the growth cycle was a tricky period due to a rather warm, very wet spring. The team had to be particularly vigilant in order to protect the vines. Fine, stable weather returned in June and continued throughout the summer. In fact conditions became drought like, interspersed in July, August and September with welcome periods of light rain. Plenty of sunshine, with temperatures that were high without becoming scorching, and fairly cool nights enabled slow ripening that pushed the start of the harvests back to the end of September.
Exceptionally favourable weather conditions, crowned by harvests in the sun, made for a vintage that is certain to be outstanding.
Cabernet Sauvignon 82,5 %
Merlot 17 %
Petit Verdot 0,5 %
Right up there with 1947, 1961, and 2005, 2009 is a year of almost exaggeratedly (for Bordeaux) flamboyant, opulent wines with elevated ripeness and low acidity. The tannins are unusually ripe, while the wines are quite voluptuous in style. The Left Bank recorded more sunlight hours than legendary vintages such as 1947 and 1982, and grapes had higher sugar concentrations than 2003 and 2005. The key was significant diurnal temperature swings that allowed grapes to handle the hot daytime temperatures. An exceptional vintage across the board.
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
|760€ +3.5%||734€ +1.4%||724€ +0.4%||721€ -8.6%||789€ -16.5%||945€ +2.4%||923€ -25.6%||1 241€ -25.0%||1 654€|