花堡莊園 Chateau Lafleur
One of the rarest wines in the world, thanks to the tiny production volumes and the degree of care and attention that goes into every bottle - reflected in the château motto, “qualité passe quantité” - Lafleur is a name that emanates exclusivity. In true artisan fashion, every vine is pruned manually and standards are some of the highest in Bordeaux. If the grapes aren’t perfect one year then there may be no vintage at all, as happened in 1987, or just a handful of barrels will be completed. A totemic estate, a shrine to a time in which wine-making was a labourious, personal affair where châteaux were owned by people rather than multinational corporations, each of the 12,000 bottles produced annually is a labour of love. Whilst Pétrus may be its equal in Pomerol, it is the quality of exclusivity which sets Lafleur apart, and for this reason surviving bottles of legendary vintages such 1945, 1947 or 1961 are highly prized with very few seeing the light of day, never mind the auction room floor. Even slightly more contemporaneous vintages such as the 1982 regularly fetch at least £2,400 per bottle. In 2012 Lafleur was among a few select labels named by Anthony Hanson of Christie’s as fine wine brands that present the most reliable returns both at auction and on the exchange market in general. International buying, particularly that from the Far East, is beginning to favour top quality producers outside the Left-bank First Growths. Indeed, Aussino cellars, one of China’s biggest wine retailers, when announcing their intention to begin promoting Right-Bank estates over those on the Left, specifically mentioned Pomerol as an appellation of special market interest for the future. Therefore, whilst investors have always found reliable returns in Château Lafleur, the coming years could represent a new golden age for the tiny, legendary château.