The estate that is now known as Château Lafite Rothschild has a long and storied history that can be traced back to at least the 14th century. The first recorded mention of the estate's vineyards was in 1234, when they were owned by the Abbaye de Vertheuil, a religious community who influenced much of the early wine production throughout Bordeaux. In the 17th century, the estate was purchased by the Ségur family, who were already prominent in the Bordeaux wine trade. Jacques de Ségur, who acquired the property in 1695, is credited with turning the estate into a wine-producing powerhouse, and his wines soon became famous throughout Europe.
Sir Robert Walpole, the de facto 1st Prime Minister of Great Britain was a known wine connoisseur who reportedly spent six-figures multiple times on fine French wines.
Two of his favorite productions just so happened to be from the vines of Lafite, their 1732 and 1733 vintages. With rising aristocratic appeal, Lafite became branded as the 'King's wine' at a time when producers were looking for any opportunity to distinguish themselves from a crowded wine market.
In 1787, Château Lafite Rothschild was purchased by the Rothschild family, who were already well-established in the banking industry. The Rothschilds continued to build on the estate's reputation for quality, and in the mid-19th century, Château Lafite Rothschild was considered one of the greatest wines in the world. The Rothschilds also played an important role in modernizing the Bordeaux wine industry, introducing new winemaking techniques and technologies that helped to improve the quality of wines throughout the region.
Today, Château Lafite Rothschild is one of the most prestigious wine producers in the world, and its wines are highly coveted by collectors and enthusiasts. The estate produces both red and white wines, although it is best known for its reds, which are made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot grapes.
One of the most significant sales of Château Lafite Rothschild took place in 2010, when a single bottle of the 1869 vintage sold for a record-breaking $232,692 at a Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong. This sale set a new world record for the highest price ever paid for a single bottle of wine although that price has since been surpassed, it remains a breakout result for an already established brand.
Another notable sale of Château Lafite Rothschild took place in 2011, when a collection of 1,407 bottles from the estate's 2008 vintage sold for $7.8 million at a Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong. This sale set a new record for the highest price ever paid for a single lot of wine, and underscored the growing demand for high-end Bordeaux wines in emerging markets.
In 2016, a single bottle of the 1945 vintage of Château Lafite Rothschild sold for $28,300 at a Sotheby's auction in New York. Due to World War II, production was incredibly limited but at least re-emerging as war-torn France attempted to recover. In turn, the 1945 vintage is widely considered to be one of the greatest in the estate's history, and is highly prized by collectors for its exceptional quality and rarity.
The increased demand within the Asian market has only pushed Lafite further as a powerful name in the wine business. Between 2011-2021, the average price of Lafite Rothschild across all vintages increased by more than 11% annually - outpacing market averages by nearly 5%. Additionally, in a 2020 report on the most commonly searched wines on Liv-Ex, Lafite dominated attention in Asia, laying claim to 8 of the top 10 most sought-after wines.
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