Wine Name:

Friday, 9 April 2010

Eighteen55 Clarets Ltd offer 2009 Lafite already

Eighteen55 Clarets Ltd: premises in Forest Hill, London SE23

The Enquiry
I received this enquiry from DC about buying 2009 Lafite yesterday afternoon:

'I was reading your website with interest, doing a bit of background research, after being cold-call telephoned by Eighteen 55 clarets. I haven't invested in wine before but the person on the end of the phone was very plausible and persuasive. He first contacted me in February, when I said I wouldn't want to invest. But he contacted me again yesterday, again sounding very plausible. He wanted me to invest around £5,000 in an en primeur case. I think it was a lafite rothschild (at least it was the first time he rang me). He said that it was almost guaranteed to grow within the first 2-3 months, and if I wanted to sell after that I could. Or I could wait till it had matured for the 2 years after which it would be bottled.'

My response 
Eighteen55 Clarets Ltd was founded on 23rd June 2008 and the current registered office is at 61 Waldram Park Road, London SE23 2PW – the offices of the Forest Hill branch of estate agents, Next Move. Its sole director is Altaur Rahman (DOB: 16.4.1973) of Catford. The company's first set of accounts are now just slightly overdue (since 23.3.2010). 

They are offering 2009 Lafite en primeur before the château has released its opening price – unlikely to happen before the end of May and pretty likely not to be until June. Nobody yet knows what you are going to have to pay for 2009 Lafite, which is likely to be in great demand whatever score it gets from Robert Parker. A very good Parker score will probably only push the price further into the stratosphere given the likely interest both from the Chinese and from investors. If this turns out to be the case, then can Eighteen55 Clarets be sure that they can secure stocks of this wine?          

I trust that the salesman made it clear how speculative a purchase this would be – unknown price and with no guarantee of getting the wine. The company's terms and conditions do quite properly make it clear that: 'Eighteen 55 CLarets is a non-stockholding retailer which means the wines listed are subject to availability.'

My advice

Even from a very well established merchant I would be wary of buying 2009 Lafite before the price has been released and not being certain of being able to secure this wine, especially as allocations to merchants are likely to be very small. As Eighteen55 Clarets were established in June 2008 they have no real track record over supplying Bordeaux en primeur. I would advise against buying en primeur from Eighteen55 Clarets Ltd.  


  1. Is it me, or are all these guys from South London?

  2. South London does seem to be a popular place for wine investment companies with Bromley especially favoured.

  3. I have received the following response from Altaur Rahman, director of Eighteen55 Clarets Ltd

    'I received this e-mail from you last night and I was shocked to see that we are supposedly been offering Lafite Rothschild 2009  @ £5000 per case.  That I find quite hard to believe as we know Lafite was only tasted last week and no one within the industry has any idea as to the release price and quantities.  From what we have heard within the industry is that it will be a expensive release price. 
                                                      So whoever contacted you has totally misconstrued the conversation with whoever they had it with.  We know that this is going to be a wine in massive demand and only suggested the price it may be released at.  So I am quite shocked to see the posting you have put on your site.

    I understand your site is there to safeguard the public interest from scam companies, but I feel you have unfairly tarred us with the same brush as other dubious companies.


    Altaur Rahman'

    Although I have no reason to doubt the person who contacted me about Eighteen55 Clarets Ltd, I'm very pleased to learn that they are not currently offering 2009 Lafite.

  4. A response to Altaur Rahman from DC:

    'I read with interest your comment on my enquiry and also the response from Altaur Rahman.

    As I mentioned initially, I believed the wine to be 2009, and it was certainly Lafite Rothschild as I had made a note of it, as I had never heard of it before.

    The representative of the company told me that the price hadn't been set yet but that it would be around £5,000 and that the price would be known in a few weeks, that it would probably be around £5000 - £5400. He said I wouldn't need to pay any money till the price was known which should be by the end of April*. He also pointed me to an article that I could look at on Times Online called the Crimson Classic by Jane MacQuity that had been published in the paper that weekend. It was referring to 2009 Bordeaux vintage and singing its praises, and discussing primeur week. I was told that once I had purchased my wine it would be stored in London City Bond

    I think one of the biggest issues I have about them was the extreme hard sell and persistence:

    I kept saying that I wasn't happy to invest in something that I knew nothing about and didn't have a guaranteed return of my original investment.

    I was told that it was more or less guaranteed as it was such a good wine and that it was almost impossible for it to not return my investment as in the past it had consistently received scores in the high 90s from Robert Parker

    I was phoned at least three times within the last few days, one of which was within 10 minutes of emailing him saying that I certainly wasn't interested in investing at this time, though I said he could phone me again next year to see if I had changed my mind.

    I certainly wasn't told that there was a chance that the wine wouldn't be available.

    The response from Mr Rahman to your blog in relation to my understanding of what was being offered is condescending and inaccurate. I am fully aware of what was said to me in response to all the doubts I had about the investment, and it raises the question that his company's sales technique is either inaccurate or seriously needs re-evaluated.'

    Within the wine trade it is widely expected that Lafite will not release its price for 2009 until late May at the very earliest. Sometime in JUne is thought to be most likely.

  5. If you want to make 2 bob on your savings like most people then go to a bank. If you are slightly more inspired to do well in life you will listen and argue and thrash out something more exciting like wine investment which can be an amazing profit making option. Why so many people have the time to complain that their ear holes hurt from a salesman just simply points out that they need to find something better to do with their time. If they are simply being annoying to companies by complaining about them, I hope that karma will rectify that situation by rewarding them with terrible investments!

  6. Anon. Thank you for your contribution.

    'they need to find something better to do with their time.'

    Which is exactly what the putative client did checking whether a company apparently operating from an estate agent's office in Forest Hill has access to cases of 2009 Lafite.

  7. but he never said he did have access. He said it would be available when released and would be around 5k. If they are members of liv-ex or have reserved allocations from another negociant, then the premises have nothing to do with it. I know for a fact that you can reserve allocations if you have the contacts and money. Some companies are to 'reserve' a case, some of whom are on your recommend list!

  8. Anon. There is a world of difference between asking clients to submit a wish list and appearing to ask for cash upfront now. Also do recently formed companies have the contacts to obtain allocations of the top 2009 wines?

  9. Furthermore the list is of companies I might consider buying from. It is not a simple recommended list.

  10. It is obvious that 1855 claretis a high pressure sales room and what tbhey say and what they do, nver the twain shall meet, by the way what gives Mr. Rahman the ability to recommend wines is he just another salesman that has decided to set up on his own, what is his experience what is his curriculum Vitae, that enables him too offer wine as an investment.

  11. Anon. Although it is entirely reasonable to ask what expertise those running Eighteen55 Clarets is, it is not necessarily the case that 'never the twain shall meet'. Agreed it will be very difficult for them to obtain allocations of 2009 Lafite when it is first released and I would be surprised if it can profitably offered at £3995.

  12. Altaur Rahman of Catford is a former director of Countrywide Land Holdings Ltd. If anyone is thinking of investing money with him at Eighteen55 Clarets Ltd, make sure first that you google "Countrywide Land Holdings Ltd" and read through some of the listings. I need say no more!

  13. `anonymous 16june 2012 thank you for bringing to

    my attention your information on altaur rahman and his directorship with eighteen 55 clarets