Bordeaux First Growths: Chateau Lafite, First Amongst First Growths

Another key component has been the Asian market.  The growth of the Chinese and Hong Kong markets and to a lesser extent the India and Russian markets has fueled the demand for Lafite.  These cultures, and especially the status conscious buyers at the top, only want the best.  In those markets, Lafite is considered to be the best of the best.

More than other first growths, Lafite has captured that rarefied place as the top Bordeaux.  In an ironic twist, many consumers in China have developed a reputation for mixing Lafite with Coca-Cola as their drink of choice.  

The relationship with China is of particular importance to Lafite.  Lafite has partnered with China’s largest state owned investment company, CITIC, to purchase over 60 acres of vines in the easternmost tip of Shandog province on the Penglai peninsula.  Interestingly, this puts the vineyards at the same 37º latitude as Bordeaux. 

When it comes to price, no story about Lafite would be complete without a mention of the most money ever paid for a bottle of wine.  In 1985, Christopher Forbes, son of Malcom Forbes, $156,000 at an auction for a bottle of Lafite.  To this day, it remains the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold.  Although part of the reason for the high price may have been because it was a Lafite, the real reason was that it was alleged to have been a 1787 Lafite once owned by Thomas Jefferson.  I say alleged because in the years since the auction, some very compelling evidence has been unearthed suggesting the wine is a fraud.