Something about Chateau 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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Tasted en primeur at the château. The Grand Vin was picked between 28th September (with the Merlot) and 16th October (with the Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot) and is a blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot and a pinch of Petit Verdot. It has a fragrant pencil lead bouquet with small dark cherries and brambly blackberry fruit. The definition is very fine with moderate intensity. The palate is more convincing than the aromatics at this point with fully ripe, quite tensile tannins and very good cohesion. Naturally it does not have the weight of a top Lafite vintage, although the focus is impressive. There is a nascent femininity about this Lafite and it might show much better after bottling. Tasted April 2013.
The 2012 Lafite Rothschild, representing only 38% of their total production, is a blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance mostly Merlot. It is a very stylish, elegant, yet concentrated Lafite Rothschild with an opaque ruby/purple color, soft well-integrated tannins, nice integrated oak, acidity and alcohol. Lafites’s 2012 reveals good, opaque, ruby/purple color and plenty of lead pencil and blackcurrant fruit. The wine is medium-bodied and should hit its prime 2020-2035.
Superb structure for the vintage with blackcurrants, cedar, mushroom and sweet tobacco character. Full-bodied yet reserved and tight with an impressive density. Long finish. Better in 2020.
Savoury bilberry, cassis and liquorice, with softer edges of tobacco and brushed leather. This is a take-your-time, unfurl-slowly kind of a wine, with slate tannins and sappy sage herbs giving a drawn-out finish. Ripe without being exuberant, showcasing graceful, sinewy muscles that feel like a signature Lafite, if lighter in style than the greatest vintages. 38% of overall production, 100% new oak. Charles Chevallier technical director, Eric Boissenot consultant.
Lafite is currently Bordeaux's most fashionable and hotly demanded wine thanks to the Asian market which has devoured almost every physically available vintage. Situated at the northern limit of Pauillac, some of the vines are actually in St Estephe bordering Cos d'Estournel and Lafon Rochet. This year it is made from 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot. A perfumed and intense nose of exotic spices with hints of ripe blackcurrant fruit. On the palate there is sweet cassis, elegance and freshness. This is a good Lafite, set in watercolour rather than oil. Complex, but without the power and warmth of a great vintage. Plenty of finesse and an enduring sweet, silky finish. Elegance abounds here. Will be approachable at an early age. A charming Lafite.