Chateau Lafite has long been one of the most faked wines in China. The Bordeaux first growth was never happy about this dubious honour, but its response has been nothing if not plucky. Not content with letting the counterfeiters mislead consumers by substituting other grapes for its own, the French house has decided to bottle its own wine at a vineyard in Shandong province’s Penglai Valley. At the end of September the fruits of that investment went on sale as it released its 2017 vintage.
Lafite’s owner Domaines Baron de Rothschild has invested heavily in its Chinese vineyard. Lafite flew 250,000 vine stocks over from France, The Economist reports, to plant at the 30-hectare site. Wine critic James Suckling has described it as “the best winery in China” and rated its product – branded Domaine de Long Dai – “outstanding”. The price is hefty too: the 2017 was priced at Rmb2,388 ($334) a bottle.
According to The Drinks Business, only 2,500 cases have been produced of the inaugural vintage, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Marselan and Cabernet Franc. However, for those who have purchased the wine – pretty much all of which has been distributed in China – there will still be a few weeks’ wait before it can be uncorked at a banquet.
Jean-Guillaum Prats, the executive running Lafite’s China operation, told The Drinks Business that customers will have to wait “until the end of November to receive their precious bottles as the wine will have to rest in the bottle a little longer to be perfectly ready”.