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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Composed of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2.5% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot, the 2017 Lafite Rothschild is deep garnet-purple colored. It opens slowly, cautiously with restrained notes of chocolate-covered cherries, mulberries, warm blackcurrants and wild blueberries, followed by emerging notions of smoked meats, fragrant earth, crushed rocks and lilacs with touches of cast-iron pan and Marmite toast. Medium-bodied, the palate is deceptively light and quite ethereal on entry, growing in the mouth to reveal elegant layers of energetic red and black fruits with tons of savory accents. Framed by exquisitely ripe, wonderfully fine-grained tannins, it has exhilarating freshness and a very long, hypnotically perfumed finish. On a final note, the alcohol here is a jaw-dropping 12.5%, which is something of a miracle considering the ripeness of the Cabernet. A total head-turner, I cannot wait to follow the development of this wine! Drink 2024-2057.
The 2017 Lafite-Rothschild was bottled at the end June 2019, two months prior to my visit to the château. It has a lovely bouquet with blackberry, briary, brine and cedar. Generous, especially for the normally more introspective First Growth. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins that frame the blackberry and bilberry fruit. The acidity is nicely judged and there is a satisfying linearity from start to finish. Classic Lafite-Rothschild in many ways, though it does not have the precision on the bravura finish that singles out a truly great vintage like the 2016. Yet, this will certainly give 20-30 years of pleasure. 2024 - 2055.
Deep and typical on the nose with blackcurrants, black tea, leather and graphite. The aromas draw you down to the palate. Full-bodied, creamy and beautiful with extremely polished, refined tannins. Yet, it’s powerful and long. Highest percent of cabernet sauvignon ever. Juicy and almost exotic, but very tidy with ripe tannins. Try after 2025 and onwards.
During en primeur, the 2017 Lafite-Rothschild was one of the most impressive wines of the Left Bank. Today, it is equally impressive. An ample, richly constituted wine, the 2017 is an unusually dark, somber Lafite, with a percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon that is among the highest ever here. There is a sort of monastic sense of austerity that gives the wine its impression of reserve. Dark cherry, plum, chocolate, licorice, spice and menthol develop in the glass, but it will be many years before it awakens. Readers will have to be patient but there is a lot to look forward to here. Like many of his colleagues, Technical Director Eric Kohler opted for gentle extractions and incorporated a relatively high amount of press wine (16%) into the blend. Those are merely details, though, because the 2017 Lafite is stellar. 2027 - 2057