Bottle of Lafite Rothschild 1895 sells for $17,000

A single bottle of Château Lafite Rothschild 1895 vintage has been sold for $17,000 at a retailer in Dubai.

Retailer Le Clos, based in Dubai International Airport, did not reveal the name of the Lafite Rothschild 1895 buyer, other than to say he or she was an international fine wine collector.

It is rare for 19th Century Bordeaux wine to be offered for sale. Christie’s sold a Lafite 1895 at auction in 2011 for £6,670 – then equivalent to $10,592 – versus a pre-sale high estimate of £2,500.

According to Michael Broadbent, retired Decanter columnist and ex-Christie’s wine director, Lafite Rothschild did not bottle its own wine at the château between 1885 and 1906. Instead, wine was sent in barriques for bottling by merchants.

This was due to the phylloxera vine disease playing havoc with France’s wine industry at the time.

In his 2002 book, Vintage Wine: 50 years of tasting over three Centuries of Wine, Broadbent said many of the late 19th Century Bordeaux vintages were hamstrung by phylloxera and also powdery mildew.

But, he listed Bordeaux 1895 among a string of ‘very good’ vintages, on a scale of good to outstanding. Of the 1880s and 1890s, only 1899 made the ‘outstanding’ list.

Liv-ex data shows that prices for Lafite 1895 and 1899 vintages have followed similar trajectories in the past decade, albeit off a very small volume of trades.

This reinforces a study published by the University of Cambridge last year.

Its authors suggested the economics of scarcity and heritage meant that first growth Bordeaux wines from so-called lesser vintages tended to match great vintages on price over time.

However, it may take up to 50 years for this to occur.

Bottle of Lafite Rothschild 1895