Lucky Lafite?


It is not long until I get married. The bill for the honeymoon is imminent and about to make a large crater on my hallway floor. It is no secret that Beth and I are off to Mauritius, the only secret is how many stars the hotel is blessed with.

Having been a 2 star man for the majority of my holiday life and having once spent some time staying on the roof of a Greek brothel, my track record is similar to the parents race on school sports day. So it will be with great trepidation that my poor new wife will step aboard B.A’s busiest honeymoon flight of the year, surrounded by, and I don’t know what the collective term is, lets call it “a smug of newlyweds”, a sight that will make me want to ask for a downgrade.

But if by some strange turn of events, we end of up camping in Wales instead, and I imagine this will only happen if North Korea mix up their missile coordinates and poor Mauritius gets in the way……..what would I spend the saved money on? The answer would be a case of Ch Lafite 2008.

The reasons to buy Lafite are strong and compelling.

1. First and foremost it is a seriously good wine. I would never be so bold as to call myself a Lafite man, as, if I drank it on a regular basis, I wouldn’t be sitting in Vauxhall writing this blog, I would on my gin palace using Richard Branson as a foot stool. But I know a truly great wine when I try it and without doubt this is. When Robin and I first tried it in March we knew we were tasting something very special.

2. They made significantly less wine in 2008 – reduced by 40%.

3. Robert Parker likes it… a lot. He has rated it 98-100 points. By comparing other highly scored Lafites , their market values only corroborate my case for Lafite 2008

2005 – 96+points – £7,000
2000 – 100 points – £10,200
2003 – 100 points – £6,700
1998 – 98 points – £4,000
1996 – 100 points – £7,000
1982 – 100 Points – £25,000

5 – If Lafite 2008 had been released at its current market Value between 2006-2008. I feel sure we would be looking at a case of wine now worth over £5000 per case.

6 – Lafite has outperformed all other first growths. Its brand continue to gain strength globally and we have not seen any signs of this abating. The other first growths might start playing catch up, but at moment, it is a gamble as to which one.

7 – I don’t know if this has any significance for future value, but it is worth noting. The number 8 is regarded as lucky in China, one of Lafites most popular markets. The word eight sounds similar to wealth & prosper. For example , the opening ceremony for the Bejing Olympics began on 8/8/08 at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 pm. We in London are just hoping we can get ours ready by sometime in 2012.

So while Beth is using our wedding photos to light her camping stove in Brecon, she can be quietly confident that in 10 years we may sell our Lafite 2008 and finally go to a smarter hotel in Mauritius.


Here is Robert Parker’s tasting note:

2008 Lafite Rothchild, 1er Cru Classe, Pauillac – £3500 per case IB
The 2008 Lafite Rothschild is one of the most profound young wines I have ever tasted. From a taster’s perspective, it is reminiscent of a blend of the 1996 and 2003, but when you compare those vintages analytically, that makes no sense whatsoever. Representing only 40% of the production, this blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc boasts an opaque ruby/purple color (one of the darkest Lafites I have seen in 30 years) as well as an extraordinary, blockbuster aromatic profile of lead pencil shavings, forest floor, black fruits, licorice, and a hint of unsmoked, high-class cigar tobacco. In the mouth, a massive richness is accompanied by a freshness, delineation, nuance, delicacy, and mind-boggling density. Even after three decades of tasting, I am still astonished when tasting such a prodigious wine as this. Full, inky, and rich with creme de cassis and spice box characteristics as well as a length that I stopped measuring after a minute, the wine reveals a sweetness to the tannin and an opulence to the fruit that suggests a hot, sunny vintage, but again, that was not the case. There wasn’t a great deal of heat, but there was more sunshine than the negative press reported at the beginning of September. This is a great, great wine. The harvest at Lafite took place between October 1-7 for the Merlot grapes, the Cabernet Franc was picked in mid-October, and the Cabernet Sauvignon between October 7-14 – an unbelievably late harvest for this estate. This wine should evolve for 30-40 years and last 50 or more.