Something about Lafite Rothschild
The most prestigious among the First Classified Growths of 1855, Château Lafite Rothschild is the lord over his lands of gravel. Bearer of a long wine tradition initiated in 1620, the estate has assertively carried the banner of the Pauillac appellation on the Left Bank of the Bordeaux region for centuries.
Because great wines are born only in the great terroirs, Château Lafite Rothschild enjoys an exceptional location with a vineyard divided into three large areas, the hillsides surrounding the Château, the Carruades plateau in the west and a parcel in the neighbouring town of Saint-Estèphe. Château Lafite Rothschild has a total of 112 hectares of vines planted in a topsoil of sand with fine, deep gravel soils that rests on a limestone bedrock, which provides excellent drainage.
From Cardinal Richelieu to the American President Thomas Jefferson at the time, the great global personalities fell under the spell of this impressive wine with a unique soul and unparalleled refinement. In their youth, the wines of Château Lafite Rothschild display the austerity and the depth of great wines while the years allow them to develop the nobility of the signature bouquet of the estate. The developed bouquet offers rare notes of cedar and spice marked by delicate violet floral notes with graphite minerality. With elegant tannins and a silky, velvety structure, there has been no equal over the decades to the wines of Château Lafite Rothschild. Only the great wines know the secret to such class and elegance.
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I hadn't had the next wine in a long, long time, and it is still one of the all-time great Lafite-Rothschilds of the last 50 or so years - the 1986. Obviously from my cellar, where it has been since I bought it when it was released, this is a wine that proprietor Baron Eric de Rothschild has always said is one of his favorite Lafite-Rothschilds of the last 100 years. This is a 100-point wine. Still incredibly youthful, but beginning to show some cedar wood, graphite and blackcurrant fruit, the wine is medium-bodied, as many Lafites are, but stunningly concentrated and relatively light on its feet. There is still tannin to resolve, and the wine seems a good decade away from hitting full maturity, which is rather remarkable since it is already 30 years of age!
Tasted at the château, the 1986 Lafite-Rothschild continues to offer an exquisite bouquet at 30 years of age. This is beautifully defined, still full of energy, with copious blackberry, clove, leather and graphite aromas that seem to gain momentum in the glass. The palate is extremely well balanced with a crystalline quality, filigree tannin, perfectly pitched acidity, a quintessential Lafite-Rothschild with a sense of energy and focus undiminished by time. This finish displays immense purity and refinement, one of the most mineral-driven Lafites that I have encountered, whilst the aftertaste seems to linger for over one minute. It must rank as one of the finest wines from the estate. Tasted July 2016.