My Blog: Is Lafite No Longer Chinese Gold Dust?
November 3rd, 2011
The popularity of Château Lafite-Rothschild seems to be waning with the elite of China, especially government officials who like the first growth as a gift or for major face giving. They are worried too much that Lafite is fake, and if they have the misfortune of serving one to a guest or giving it as a present, this would leave a very bad impression on their guests.
I have heard this many times over a week-long trip to Beijing and Hong Kong from various sources. “Everyone is worried that Lafites are fake,” he said. “It’s bad face if you give someone or serve someone fake Lafite.”
The word on the street is that empty bottles of Lafite in China go for about $300 to $400 – and they aren’t put on fireplace mantles. Who knows what is eventually put in the bottle?
Prices for Lafite in the Chinese market are on the decline.
So what’s the new wine for major face in China? Is it Latour, Margaux, Haut-Brion, or Mouton? What other Bordeaux do you think it could be?
Try Burgundy. And, of course, it’s the grand daddy of them all: Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. The insatiable taste for the reds of this famous Burgundian domain in Hong Kong has now carried over to all the key markets in China – especially the power center of Beijing.
“If you serve Romanée-Conti or La Tâche at a lunch or dinner with the top people of Beijing, this is real face,” said a friend in the Chinese capital with a major cellar.
In a given vintage, Romanée-Conti only makes about 450 cases. So prices are escalating at the moment for the rarified, super Pinot Noir. Production of La Tache is significantly more with slightly more than 1,800 cases made annually.
The other wines such as Richebourg, Romanée-Saint-Vivant, and Échezeaux are also popular but nowhere near the prestigious Romanée-Conti and La Tâche. The tiny production of Montrachet – about 10 barrels – is highly prized, however. But this is mostly with the super elite of Hong Kong, who serve it to their friends from Mainland China.Comments