| I think it was Mark Twain that said, “Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.” So, even as few as 10 years ago, who could have predicted what happened to the price of Chateau Lafite Rothschild? A quick gander through what’s available out on the market today yields this tidbit of information: The lowest price for a bottle of Lafite; any vintage; that is available for purchase is, get this, $568! That’s crazy. I mean I love wine and all, but that’s just crazy. For my last birthday, my best friend pulled an ’88 Lafite from his cellar for dinner, and when I saw it, I said, “Don’t you dare!”
So exactly why is this happening? What is driving the prices of all things Lafite through the roof? Econ 101 tells us that there’s a lot of demand out there and not so much supply. Okay, fair point. Where is all this demand coming from? Sure, now that a bottle of Lafite from a fine vintage rivals the price of a gold bar, one can say speculators are involved, but what got the market moving in the first place? Ask any wine merchant, and they’ll surely acknowledge that the booming Chinese economy has created an immense demand for all things Lafite. Like it or not, it’s a fact. There pretty much isn’t a day that goes by when we don’t get an inquiry from Asia for anything Lafite makes.
So we’ve recently noticed something. There seems to be a lot of Lynch Bages selling lately; the majority of it being shipped to Asia. We’re not saying that a fifth-growth is going to be just as valuable as a first-growth; but if Lynch Bages is catching on in Hong Kong, I’ll be one of many sad wine lovers. Lynch Bages and I go way back. The very first solid case of Bordeaux I ever bought was Lynch Bages. Though those are all gone, I still have a mini-vertical of this textbook Pauillac stashed away in the cellar. To many Claret lovers, Lynch Bages is that Bordeaux that consistently represents high quality without pricing themselves in the stratosphere like many others. If it is to become the next darling of Hong Kong auction markets, I will miss it. Dearly.
So again, you never know what is going to happen in this crazy world of ours, but one thing’s for sure: special wine is special wine. Though classified as a fifth-growth in 1855, the quality of Chateau Lynch Bages under the control of Andre, Jean-Michel, and now Jean-Charles Cazes has matured like a bottle of Andre’s 1955. – Peter Zavialoff