A chance to buy directly at the Château Lafite Rothschild winery



Château Lafite Rothschild, with bottles from 1914, 1949 and 1982.

Château Lafite Rothschild, with bottles from 1914, 1949 and 1982.

Courtesy of Zachys

Collectors accustomed to buying Bordeaux directly from the producer, whether "first" or "futures", before their release on the market, have the chance to buy aged bottles that have never left. the castle cellar.

Château Lafite Rothschild, perhaps the most famous of Bordeaux's leading producers, provides this opportunity through a vast live auction of 692 lots, all directly from the Lafite winery and other properties of Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite). New York wine auction and sale house Zachys will be selling on March 30 at the Bernardin Privé in New York.

The star of the auction, organized in honor of the purchase by Baron James Mayer de Rothschild of the famous property in France 150 years ago, is a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1868, produced the same year. The offer, which includes a dinner for four at the castle, is estimated between 13,000 and 20,000 USD. The wine was elaborated a little more than a decade after the setting up of the classification system of the Château de Bordeaux from the first to the fifth century.

The final buyer of the 1868 acquires "a piece of exceptional history," says Jean-Guillaume Prats, president and CEO of Lafite. "You buy the only machine that goes back in time that works."

A bottle of Château Lafite Rothschild, 1868, Paulliac, produced in the year when Baron James Mayer de Rothschild bought the famous wine estate of Bordeaux, France.

A bottle of Château Lafite Rothschild, 1868, Paulliac, produced in the year when Baron James Mayer de Rothschild bought the famous wine estate of Bordeaux, France.

Courtesy of Zachys

This is because the 1868 vintage, of which there are only five bottles left in Lafite, is one of the great vintages of Bordeaux. At Lafite, these wines, which are clearly old, complex and velvety, "taste like a fairly young wine," says Prats, almost as if it were still in 1868.

The sale also includes Château Lafite Rothschild 1870, also considered an exceptional vintage, with a selling price of between $ 12,000 and $ 18,000, and nine other bottles of the 19th century. There are also wines sold directly in the cellar of other Lafite properties, including Château Duhart-Milon, considered "the little brother of Lafite", highly prized in Europe, and Castle The Gospel, a small property located on the right bank Bordeaux, which is popular with North American collectors, says Prats.

More than 500 large-format bottles will also be on offer, including several imperial bottles (volume equal to eight bottles), signed by Baron Eric de Rothschild and his daughter, Saskia de Rothschild, who has chaired the Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) since 39, last year.

All bottles were tagged for auction before being placed in custom-made wooden boxes.

Lafite sold bottles from its cellars 10 years ago at a Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong. The auction, although available to bidders around the world, is deliberately US-centric because "we wanted to send a strong signal to the market: we do not want to forget about American wine collectors," says Prats.

Today Burgundy dominates sales in the fine wine market, notably with the sale of a 1945 bottle from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, or DRC, in Robert Drouhin's cellar at Sotheby's in New York. York. For Prats, this seems logical given the quality of Burgundy and low levels of production of the French appellation. But Burgundy needs a special collector, eager to learn about the producers of the region, many of whom produce wine from the same vineyards.

"Bordeaux has a substantial advantage," says Prats. "Not only are the wines great and fantastic, but they are produced in much larger quantities and are easily accessible because of the volumes and the way the wines were sold.

"Château Lafite has the same mystical reputation as Romanée-Conti and a few others, but it remains much cheaper than these wines," he says.

Despite the exorbitant prices of a few bottles of Burgundy, Bordeaux remains the cornerstone of the fine wine market, said Charles Antin, international high-level specialist at Zachys, and the auctioneer for the Lafite sale. But what matters is not that Lafite comes from Burgundy or Bordeaux, nor even from Italian Piedmont.

"These are works of art," he says. "This is an opportunity to acquire the Lafite 1870, widely considered the greatest Bordeaux of all time. My experience is that it is art, jewelry or wine, this type of provenance and rarity transcends the market, especially at the global level. "


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