Who wouldn't love to buy a case of Lafite Rothschild, and if your broker told you that he had an offer at which the wine could be purchased at a steep discount to comparable vintages of Lafite, you might even get excited. This is exactly what appeared in my inbox just last week with a screengrab of the offer below.

But while the cost of a case of the 2011 is less than the cost of any of the other wines, it is actually the most expensive wine on the list. Why? Because time is money.

The 1999 vintage at £6,400 is 12 years older than the 2011 offered and the age of Bordeaux wine does matter: a young wine is not fungible for an old wine. Accordingly, if you were to buy the 2011 vintage now and leave it for another 12 years after which the price had risen to £6,400 as noted above, it would have appreciated at only 2.8% per annum. This is less than the current rate of Retail Price Inflation (RPI) which is 3.1%. In other words, the only difference between the pricing of the 2011 vintage and that of the 1999 vintage is the extra 12 years of inflation.

Alternatively, if you took the £4,600 that you were currently going to purchase the Lafite with and put in the stock market where long term returns (1871-2001) are 8.8%, in 12 years time you might reasonably have £12,656 after which you could buy a case at the prescribed £6,400 and pocket the difference of £6,256. Assuming you can get the stock market returns indicated, it holds true for all the wines featured: against the 2001 vintage you would have £4,742 surplus, versus 2004 £2,507 and even the 2007, £571.

When the time value of money is taken into account, the 2011 not only fails to be at a steep discount to comparable vintages, it is actually the most expensive. What's more, at 90-93 Parker points, it also has the lowest score since the others are all 94-95 but let's not worry about that.

Moral of the story, don't believe everything your wine broker tells you. Here, they either willfully ignore the maths, are too lazy to do the maths or simply don't know the maths exits in the first place.

The 1999 vintage at £6,400 is 12 years older than the 2011 offered and the age of Bordeaux wine does matter: a young wine is not fungible for an old wine. Accordingly, if you were to buy the 2011 vintage now and leave it for another 12 years after which the price had risen to £6,400 as noted above, it would have appreciated at only 2.8% per annum. This is less than the current rate of Retail Price Inflation (RPI) which is 3.1%. In other words, the only difference between the pricing of the 2011 vintage and that of the 1999 vintage is the extra 12 years of inflation.

Alternatively, if you took the £4,600 that you were currently going to purchase the Lafite with and put in the stock market where long term returns (1871-2001) are 8.8%, in 12 years time you might reasonably have £12,656 after which you could buy a case at the prescribed £6,400 and pocket the difference of £6,256. Assuming you can get the stock market returns indicated, it holds true for all the wines featured: against the 2001 vintage you would have £4,742 surplus, versus 2004 £2,507 and even the 2007, £571.

When the time value of money is taken into account, the 2011 not only fails to be at a steep discount to comparable vintages, it is actually the most expensive. What's more, at 90-93 Parker points, it also has the lowest score since the others are all 94-95 but let's not worry about that.

Moral of the story, don't believe everything your wine broker tells you. Here, they either willfully ignore the maths, are too lazy to do the maths or simply don't know the maths exits in the first place.