If anyone was in doubt of the popularity of Chateau Lafite in the Asian market, look no further. The 2008 vintage of this First Growth Bordeaux wine will feature the Chinese symbol for the number 8. The symbol represents good luck, especially in the Chinese market. The symbol will appear on all bottles and magnums produced.
While this does not happen often with the traditional company, artwork has been added to previous vintages of their Bordeaux wine bottles. 1999 was embossed as was the 1985, which featured Halley’s Comet. In fact, if you travel back in time to 1811, that vintage was embossed with an image of a comet as well.
2008 is an important year for Domaines Barons de Rothschild, the owner of Chateau Lafite Rothschild. They announced in 2009 they had started a partnership to produce wine in China with the CITIC. They plan on making wine from a 25 hectare vineyard located in Shandong, on the Penglai peninsula which is Located roughly 300 miles southeast of Beijing.
The project with the CITIC is not the first venture into Asian markets by Domaines Barons de Rothschild. DBR had entered into a partnership with the Japanese company Suntory who also own Beychevelle in St. Julien. DBR and Suntory are releasing a small production wine called Century. The name was chosen to honor one hundred years of wine making at Suntory. The wine is produced from fruit grown in Suntory’s Tomi No Oka Winery in Kai, Yamanashi Prefecture along with grapes grown in Shi ojiri, Nagano Prefecture,…
The wine is projected to sell for close to $250 per bottle. But good luck finding any as only 100 cases of wine were produced.
Will other Bordeaux wine producers in the Medoc follow in the footsteps of Lafite and produce a special label or bottle? It’s possible that certain brands that are popular in the Chinese market like Grand Puy Lacoste, Lynch Bages or Beychevelle might follow the trend. Chateau Mouton Rothschild is the most probable candidate to create a special label as they produce new label artwork every year.
What will this do to prices in the already hot Chinese wine market for Bordeaux wine? It isn’t going to make wines less expensive! That is something you can take to the bank.
Personally, I think this is an amazing marketing job. It’s a clever idea. What do you think?
Sam… I think the prices Lafite is currently selling for, has already turned off most western consumers. At this time, the majority of the available cases of Lafite and their related wines are already selling in the Asian market.
Tracy… I tasted about 40 different 08’s in June. I have not had the time to write them up. The vintage produced some very nice wines. Pomerol is the place to put your money.. In the Medoc, Pontet Canet, Haut Bailly, Palmer, Cos d’Estournel and Ducru are all outstanding wines that still sell for fair value. I will type the rest of the notes up in late November. Thanks for reminding me.
Have you tasted anything good lately?
Thank you for your reply. I bought a lot of 08’s mainly because of my wedding year and because the price was right! Looking forward to your notes.
I have tasted something very good and well worth the money it was a 2005 Embruix de Vall Llach Priorat which I opened in a poorly lit room thinking it was something else. I re-corked it placed it in the fridge for a day and drank it over the next 3 days and it was really fun! Great flavors, fruit and tannins for days. A very well balanced wine that at 15.5% alcohol had no Heat! Amazing because I usually like my wines at 14% or below.
Lafite has obviously done a great job within the Chinese market and I’m happy for their success, but this could turn off western consumers. I personally cannot afford to drink Lafite but I still hold it in high esteem because of its quality and history. While I know these wines were never intended for me (or for most wine consumers) placing the Chinese figure for the number 8 on each bottle serves as a public reinforcement of where the Chateau’s priorities lie.
Are you going to do a tasting of 08 bordeaux anytime soon? I would love to read your notes! aloha,