- St-Estèphe fourth growth Lafon-Rochet has been sold.
- The new owner is Jacky Lorenzetti, who now owns four Bordeaux estates.
- Emmanuel Cruse of Château d’Issan will manage Lafon-Rochet as well.
Château Lafon-Rochet, a classified growth in St- Estèphe, is being sold by the Tesseron family to businessman Jacky Lorenzetti it has been announced.
The deal is expected to be concluded by the end of the year, full details of the sale have not yet been disclosed.
Lafon-Rochet, famous for its yellow-walled château, was classified as a 4eme grand cru classé in 1855.
Lorenzetti is a well known figure in Bordeaux. As well as being the owner of (Paris-based) rugby club Racing 92, he is the owner of Château Pedesclaux in Pauillac and Château Lilian Ladouys in St-Estèphe. He is also part owner of Château d’Issan in Margaux and a main shareholder in négociant business LDVins.
According to French website Vitisphere, the property will be managed by Issan’s co-owner, Emmanuel Cruse.
Lafon-Rochet’s erstwhile owner, Basile Tesseron, meanwhile will focus his energies at his wife’s estate Château Larrivet in Haut-Médoc.
Lafon-Rochet has long lagged behind other St-Estèphe’s classified growths. Fellow estates such as Montrose, Cos d’Estournel and (increasingly) Calon-Ségur command greater attention in the fine wine market – and greater prices too.
In the secondary market, Lafon-Rochet is just the sixth most-traded St-Estèphe by value this year and eighth by volume. In both instances it is surpassed even by the second wines of Cos and Montrose.
By volume, Lorenzetti’s other estate in the same AOC, Lilian Ladouys, has seen more volume trade so far in 2021.
Although a fourth growth, Lafon-Rochet has long laboured in the 5th tier of the Liv-ex Classification. Its average trade price of £346 per case (12×75), is a long way off those of Calon- Ségur (£857), Montrose (£1,342) and Cos d’Estournel (£1,489).
Those three estates are all ranked in the 2nd tier of this year’s classification.
The sale of a classified growth always raises interest in the potential of the estate in the near future – especially when sold to fellow Bordelais. The sale of fifth growth Haut-Batailley to the Cazes family in 2017 is another case in point.
A potential overhaul of the vineyards, investment in new facilities and, of course, a new pricing strategy are all real possibilities. Lafon-Rochet is no doubt seen as possessing immense potential.
For collectors and Bordeaux enthusiasts, its average price remains extremely attainable in comparison to other classed growths. Nonetheless, its secondary market performance could stand to improve.
Of the top traded vintages by value so far this year (table above), the best-performing overall as been the 2009 (chart above). Over the last five years its price rose 41% and it is up 62.7% since release.
More recent vintages have not fared quite so well. The 2018 for example is currently down 11.5% since release, while the 2016 is up a mere 1.6%.