Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2008 – Full moon ceremonies, lucky numbers and fine wine!

Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2008 was at the ‘eye of the storm’ in late 2010 / early 2011 as the Chinese demand for the Bordeaux First Growths hit its peak, in part driven by the 2008 vintage wines becoming available.

The number 8 has long been regarded as the luckiest number in Chinese culture, linked to prosperity, success and high social status. The opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics began at 08(hr).08(mins).08(secs) pm on the 8th August 2008 and many major airlines, especially with routes through China, have flight references including ‘8’ or multiples of.

As a consequence, in China the kudos of providing a gift of one of the most recognised fine wine brands in the world associated with the numerically special 2008 vintage drove demand from Chinese consumers to such a level that it impacted the global prices of the Bordeaux First Growths. Lafite was the brand that enjoyed the highest levels of trade from the Far East from release of the 2008 vintage in 2010 / 2011 but also suffered the most when buyers turned their attention to wines of similar quality offering better value.

The five Bordeaux First Growths have led the market to its highest heights but also suffered in leaner times due to brand profile rather than the quality of the wine which has remained consistently excellent throughout. As a consequence these great wines have been available at prices which offer excellent potential to deliver strong returns and with many of them enjoying significant ageing potential, they should be tucked away for the long term.

Another influencing factor for Chateau Mouton Rothschild was the inspired choice of the Chinese artist, Xu Lei to design the 2008 vintage label. Baron Philippe de Rothschild, one of the most influential figures of the global fine wine market, introduced the Chateau’s label innovation of commissioning an annual work of art produced by some of the most noted artists of their time, in 1945. Since then contributing artists have included Picasso (1973), Francis Bacon (1990), Jeff Koons (2010), Prince Charles (2004) and David Hockney (2014), a personal friend of Baroness Philippine de Rothschild who sadly died in 2014, produced the 2014 vintage label in tribute to her.

This weekend, at the time of the Chinese celebration of the ‘Mid-Autumn’ Festival, we have another look at the 2008 wine that grabbed market attention ten years ago. The Xu Lei label depicts a split moon encompassing the Mouton Ram. The Chateau suggests that it signifies the ‘role of great wine as a link between people and cultures.’ Right now this image will have particular meaning and appeal to Chinese wine collectors.

Investors will look at historic price performance and critics’ scores. Parker tasted this Mouton on a number of occasions, rating it 94 – 96 on first en primeur tastings in 2009, 94+ when in bottle in 2011 and later 94 points in 2014. Certainly consistent.

The first trades on Liv-ex in the wine in 2009, en primeur were at £1,575 (12 x 75cl) and the impact of the Chinese demand in November 2010 saw Mouton 2008 trade at £8,000 per case. More recently, in August 2018 the 2008 was traded on Liv-ex at £4,235, there is significant scope to see this wine grow in the long term with on-going appeal to the Chinese consumer.

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