Signs of an Economic Recovery?

An e-mail advertising wine for nearly $700 a bottle made us wonder if it’s a sign the economy is bouncing back.

By: Carol Ross Joynt

Photograph by Flickr user Josh Kenzer.

This week I received an e-mail from Calvert Woodley Wines and Spirits that read, "Lafite Rothschild is one of a handful of wine names that stops people in their tracks." No argument there, but the price of the 2011 vintage--$689 a bottle, or more than $8,000 a case--caused me to wonder if this is a sign of an economic recovery. Are people spending this kind of money again?

It's a 30 percent drop in the bottle price from a year ago, as if a price break will lure tight-fisted wine connoisseurs back into the habit. After the economy crashed in '08, casual wine buyers, and even collectors, balked at astronomic prices.

Wine Spectator gave the 2011 Lafite a score of 93 to 96 points. Whether you think it's a sign of recovery or just a ripoff, the bottle you buy today won't be available for pickup for another year, and won't be drinkable for several years after that.