Lafite Rothschild 2016

First tranche released

Lafite Rothschild 2016 has been released, making it the first of the Firsts to come out this year.

A first tranche of the wine is being offered by negociants. In volume terms, around 50% of last year’s total release is on offer. The next tranche is expected to be linked to Rieussec, and prices are currently unknown.

In this first tranche, Lafite Rothschild 2016 has been released at €455 per bottle ex-negociant, up 8.3% on 2015 (€420). If a similar margin were applied to this tranche as with other releases this year, this would result in a merchant offer price of around £5,500 per 12×75.

However, because of how the release is being staggered, merchant offer prices are not yet known.

Lafite Rothschild 2016 – the reviews

The wine has been one of the most highly anticipated releases this year. It has received glowing reviews from critics and was also voted ‘wine of the vintage’ in the Liv-ex members’ En Primeur survey.

It received a straight 100-point score from James Suckling, while Chris Kissack (98-100) and Jeff Leve (98-100) both saw it as potentially perfect. Suckling even suggested that the wine was “perhaps the greatest Lafite since the legendary 1959?”

Neal Martin was also full of praise and suspected that “this will ultimately turn out to be a regal Lafite Rothschild”. He awarded the wine 96-98 points.

View all critic scores here.

Fair value?

Prices for Lafite Rothschild are correlated to both age and score in roughly equal measures.

An assessment of the 2016’s price against its score suggests that, assuming a price of £5,500, today’s release represents a considerable opportunity for buyers. The two other most recent vintages, 2014 and 2015, also look favourable when viewed in this context.

Lafite Rothschild 2016

However, Lafite prices are also influenced by age. In Asian markets the wine has been known for selling well irrespective of critic scores; brand is the driver. Younger, cheaper vintages are sought out.

The chart below shows how the 2011-2015 vintages are all priced around the same level. Buyers interested in bottle age might therefore find opportunities at the older end of each grouping, particularly the physical 2011-14. The new release looks less favourable in this light.

The success of this release is therefore likely to be determined by its ability to entice quality-conscious buyers. A final price is yet to be set. It will depend on the pricing of the next tranche, and the link with Rieussec. With both unknown, there is still much to play – and wait – for.

Lafite Rothschild 2016

Carruades Lafite 2016 was released last week for €135 per bottle ex-negociant. See price analysis for the second wine here.

Liv-ex members can see ongoing real time prices for Lafite Rothschild on Market View.