The news that the 2008 vintage of Lafite Rothschild is to be released with a special design featuring the Chinese symbol for the figure eight, said to bring eternal blessings and good luck, caused a large spike in demand for the wine at the end of last week – a trend that has continued in November. In the nine days since the new design was announced, prices on the exchange have risen 45% (£8,500 – £12,500).

Of course, Lafite isn’t the only First Growth expected to release their 2008 vintage with a distinctly Chinese angle. Indeed,  Mouton Rothschild – which commissions a different artist to design the uppermost portion of its label each year – is widely reported to have headed to China to find a suitable design for its 2008.

So what does this mean for pricing? If we look at recent vintages of Lafite (2005-2009), we can see that the 2008 is now the most expensive of them all, surpassing the 2009 (£12,400) and the 2005 (£11,600).  Mouton 2008, however, is still significantly cheaper than both of these vintages at around £4,800 per case (see chart below).

Since its release, Mouton 2008 has traded at an average ratio of 0.51 to Lafite 2008 (i.e. it trades at just over half the price). This ratio is now down to just below 0.4 (also below). If the release of Mouton’s new label sparks the same kind of interest that we saw for Lafite 2008 and this swing is reversed, could a price of above £6,000 per case be achievable?

In previous years, the new label for the latest Mouton vintage has been released in early January – time to get in ahead of the rush?

LRMR - bars

LRMH - Relative value