Owner: Sylvie and Jacques Guinaudeau
Vineyard area: 4.5 hectares
Standard blend: 50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Franc
Production: 12,000 bottles p/a
Second wine: Pensees de Lafleur
Located near Petrus on “Le Plateau Argileux”, Lafleur’s greatest vintages challenge those of its illustrious neighbour. The micro-estate was established in 1872, when Henri Greloud (the owner of Chateau Le Gay) purchased a small parcel of vines from a monsieur Bernier. André Robin acquired the property in 1915 and can be credited with the estate’s enduring ethos: “Qualité passe quantité” (quality surpasses quantity).
In 1946, management of the winery fell to André’s daughters, Thérèse and Marie Robin. Together, the reclusive sisters produced prodigious wines for several decades. But after Therese’s death in 1984, Jacques and Sylvie Guinaudeau (Henri Greloud’s great, great grandchildren) rented the vineyard from Marie. They eventually acquired full ownership of the property in 2001.
An atypical blend of 62 per cent Cabernet Franc and the rest Merlot, the 2010 vintage received strong reviews from the major critics. James Molesworth of the Wine Spectator called it “super silky and refined” (95-98), whilst Ian d’Agata of Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar awarded it 96 points and described it as having “the finest, most polished tannins of all in 2010”.
Even the most influential critics have claimed that Lafleur is, at times, more compelling than Petrus. With this in mind, we thought it would be interesting to compare the prices and scores of top wines from both estates.
As you can see from the table below, recent vintages of Lafleur have received high praise from the Wine Spectator. In fact, those from 2000 onwards have scored an average of 94.6 points – one point shy of Petrus’ average. Despite their similar scores, the last 12 months have actually seen the price gap between the labels widen.
Prices are for 6x75cl cases stored in bond. Scores from Winespectator.com.
In September 2010, Petrus was changing hands at three times the price of Lafleur (on average). One year on, this ratio has increased to 3.6:1. Whilst Petrus continues to find favour with traders, post-millennial vintages of Lafleur have failed to sustain any real price growth and the majority remain well below their 2008 highs. A six pack of the chateau’s 100-point 2005, for example, is now more than £10,000 cheaper than its Petrus equivalent.
Numerous vintages of Lafleur are currently offered on Liv-ex at discount prices. Trading members can view live markets here.
(Image courtesy of Thewinecellarinsider.com)