In July 2003 Lafite Rothschild commanded less than a 6% premium over the other First Growths (average price of last ten physical vintages). This began to rise as the Chateau regularly received higher scores than other First Growths, resulting in increased demand. By the end of 2007, its premium had reached 50%.
Asian demand for Lafite accelerated in 2009 and its premium soared, peaking at 129% after the announcement that the 2008 bottle would carry the Chinese symbol of the figure of eight, representing good fortune. Since then, the brand’s premium has fallen and currently stands at 35%.
But which Chateaux are closing the gap? As the chart below shows, Mouton Rothschild and Haut Brion have gained the most over the past year. While Mouton has held steady after its boost from Asian demand leading up to the Chinese Year of the Sheep, Haut Brion looks to offer value. It is the cheapest First Growth despite having the highest average score – 99.75 – across the four ‘great’ vintages of this millennium: 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010. Will Lafite’s good fortune continue to fade?