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Château Lafite Rothschild is one of the most renowned wine properties in the Médoc. Owned by Baron Eric de Rothschild and Lafite Rothschild is also one of the largest Médoc estates. The vineyards of Ch. Lafite are found at the northern tip of the Pauillac appellation, just below the boundary with St. Estephe. There is evidence of an estate on this site as far back as the 14th century, and of exports of wine to the UK in the early 17th century. The current owners, the Rothschilds of the famous banking dynasty, bought the property in 1866, but this is a different brand of the family from that which purchased Ch. Mouton-Rothschild. For many years the Rothschilds’ control of Lafite was very much exercised at a distance, compared to the hands-on influence of Baron Philippe at Mouton, but since the Second World War this has changed somewhat, with the current owner, Eric de Rothschild, presiding over an extensive programme of investment in both vineyard and cellar. With a base largely of gravel the vineyard is unsurprisingly dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon (71%) with the balance comprising Merlot (25%) Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (1%). Grapes are hand-harvested, and vinified parcel by parcel. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats, after which the wine is run off into barrels, 100% new for Lafite itself, a mixture of new and one-year-old barrels for the second wine. The Grand Vin volume varies greatly according to the vintage, but is frequently less than half the total crop, and is usually no more than 20,000 cases. The second wine, Carruades de Lafite, has a slightly higher percentage of Merlot than Lafite and is in consequence more approachable in youth. Up to 30,000 cases are made. Wine deemed not worthy of inclusion in Carruades is sold off as generic Pauillac. Throughout the 20th century Lafite was dogged by periods of inconsistency, often producing sublime wines but also failing to live up to its billing in other years. Since 1994, however the estate has been under the control of Charles Chevallier, and he has brought about not just an admirable level of consistency but has also been responsible for some truly brilliant wines often vying for the title of “Wine of the Vintage”. In style thw wines of Lafite are often described as having a perfumed elegance and finesse, to contrast with the more masculine power and structure of Latour or the more exotic and intense flavours of Mouton. What is sure, however, is that at its best it represents a hedonistic experience for the consumer, and has the ability to age, in great years, for minimally 50 years and often longer.
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Bottle 12 x 75cl
This has become one of the finest second wines produced. The 1998 (a blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 4.5% Cabernet Franc, and 1.5% Petit Verdot) is an outstanding effort. While very Lafite-like (although more supple and forward), it exhibits a dense ruby/purple color in addition to an excellent bouquet of black fruits, smoke, earth, and minerals, supple tannin, an excellent texture, and a long, fine finish. Anticipated maturity: now-2015!. (Robert Parker)
Case price (6)
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Magnum 6 x 150cl
There are few, if any, more beautiful wines in Bordeaux than Ch. Lafite. The ethereal finesse, the lacy tannins, the intense, pure fruit and feminine delicacy; they are all there in this lovely wine. It is beautifully silky with coffee, spice and cedar notes, and a long seductive finish. Elegant, seductive and multi-dimensional it has the firm tannins typical of the vintage and a lovely harmony. With only 40% of the crop going into the Grand Vin, General Manager Charles Chevalier has done what he has to maintain the exceptional Lafite quality in 2006.
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Bottle 6 x 75cl
There is an almost raspberry hint to the nose of the 2009 Lafite; just a suggestion of the elegance to come. Make no mistake; this is sublime. Rich damson and blackberry fruits merge beautifully on the palate with silky, cashmere tannins that glide over the tongue and then are gone. An ethereal perfume rests in the mouth after the long finish, almost as if one is breathing the wine. Absolutely harmonious, this is a magical wine.
Made from 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, the silky, incredibly concentrated and elegant brambly fruit is wonderfully fragrant with lovely minerality and hints of cedar. The super-ripe tannins are accompanied by layer upon layer of fruit alongside a freshness and firm acidity. This slumbering giant will eventually awaken and become one of the most prized of the 2005 treasures. Even so it is utterly compelling now, with each taste like a PhD of Claret, such is its complexity. It may not have the immediate appeal of the legendary 2000 but we were all agreed that it is unquestionably a better wine. One of the wines of the vintage.
Imperial 1 x 600cl
This has a slightly restrained nose at first but it opens up to reveal sumptuous aromas of wild berry fruit, graphite, cassis and plum. A fabulous multi-dimensional texture on the palate fills the mouth and crisp acidity brings perfect balance; great intensity of flavour, exceptional length, and a staggering quality to the abundant tannins; really fine. It is hard to find fault in truth, and worrying to think that we usually find Lafite grows in complexity over the next couple of months, so it will become even better!
With succulent, juicy fruit and a gravely minerality throughout, Lafite’s 2008 Grand Vin has the beautiful elegance so typical of this grand chàteau. Its restrained style sometimes shrouds its brilliance at en primeur tastings but the 2008 Grand Vin displays all the qualities of a wine which will develop into a fantastic First Growth: the tannins are ripe and silky, the cassis-laden fruit is intense and fine, and the savoury finish seems endless. Time is required to add flesh to the bones of this Lafite but at its peak it will be stunning.
Case price (6)
Case saving £666.48
Case price (6)
Case saving £1,128.48
Deep garnet red in colour and incredibly fragrant and fresh, and classy on the nose. Medium to full-bodied on the palate and surprisingly rich with notes of black fruits, mineral and hints of tobacco. Very good grip and a very complete and harmonious wine. Drinking well now and for the next decade or so.
A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot and it’s easy to see that the technical team here think very highly of the quality of their Cabernet this year. Estate Manager Charles Chevallier has confided in the past that he would much rather not show his wine this early as it always benefits from a bit longer in barrel. Whenever I have had the chance to taste the young wine in both April and June I have always been amazed at how much development it undergoes in those extra two months. The bouquet exhibits a piercing purity of cassis and crushed rocks, while on the palate there is an extraordinary precision and finesse. The quality of tannins, in particular, is remarkable, and if the wine puts on weight during maturation, as it always does, then this could be turn out to be a Lafite of enormous refinement and elegance.
Bottle 3 x 75cl
A true classic. Intense crimsom to garnet red in colour and a tight compact nose of rich concentrated ripe fruits, bubbled cream and liquorice. Wonderfully harmonious on the palate with svelte tannins, fine concentration and a finish that lasts and lasts.
D. Magnum 1 x 300cl
Deep ruby/garnet in colour, this wine is as appealing to the eye as it is to the palate. Considerable body and power exuding rich red and black fruits, minerals, and roasted herbs teams with a fleshy, sweet mid-palate. Long and very elegant.
Very intense deep garnet colour with a ripe classical nose. Medium to full-bodied on the palate with marvellously silky black fruits and pronouced, velvety tannins. Very intense and very Lafite.
Only 41% of Lafites production made its way into the grand vin in 2002 such is the commitment to quality here. This has an obviously classy perfumed nose with a fresh and appealing purity. This is replicated on the serious palate with its lashings of ripe strawberry and black cherry fruit, new oak and firm tannins. From a relatively restrained start the wine develops beautifully in the mouth, with smoky dark fruit and tobacco hints leading to a firm, long finish. This is a strong candidate for wine of the vintage in 2002.
D. Magnum 3 x 300cl
With the 2000 vintage being so glowing, the 1998 vintage can be over looked - and be under priced by comparison.
..The Lafite was voted wine of the night. It had such a beautiful combination of race, complexity, completeness and such dancing vivacity that it was difficult to believe it was a 1997... (Jancis Robinson MW - 1997 first growths 10 years on - 04-Aug-2007)
39% Merlot and 57% Cabernet Sauvignon form the bedrock of the blend of Lafite’s second wine, testament to the fact that the Cabernet was exceptional this year and in consequence most of it has gone into the Grand Vin. The bouquet is deeply plummy with a fair degree of opulence; on the palate there is good depth of soft fruit, very fine tannins, silky texture and impressive length.
Magnum 3 x 150cl
Very difficult to assess when very young because of the huge tannic structure and sheer weight of matter on the palate. Very impressive but unyielding, not yet revealing the supreme finesse which is the hallmark of Lafite. Will fascinate for many years to come. The wine has evolved slowly over the past past four years and may not be ready until 2010 at least.
From a legendary vintage for Chteau Lafite, this is probably the finest 2nd wine of all. With only 38% of the 1996 crop at Lafite going into the Grand Vin, this Carruades is a truly exceptional wine with many of the qualities of its elder sibling, and equivalent in quality to a 2nd or 3rd growth. Fantastic value. Drink 2004-2020.
A return to elegance and precision is backed-up by a commendably low ABV of 12.6%. Charles Chevallier was more relaxed than ever when he showed us the wine; one senses this is very much his preferred style of Lafite and there was a deftness of touch that only comes with experience, the finest terroir and a non-interventionist approach. With seamless purity and a fine texture, this is a very handsome Lafite. Tom Cave, Cellar Plan Manager
Nice floral aromatics create a pleasing perfume here. There is some really nice fruit to be found on the palate, which is dominated by hints of cherry and raspberry. The wine offers good weight, some length and prominent tannins.
98% Cabernet this vintage, which shows in an extremely pure, focused and streamlined nose. Blackcurrant and cassis jumps out, along with a red fruit and floral note, which is matched by a creamy spice from the oak. Very, very elegant. A core of darker fruit on the palate with a touch spice added by the super fine tannins. The freshness of acid works well with the lighter red fruit that come to the fore on the finish. Fine boned, poised and refined as always, this is like your mums porcelain china. More accessible than usual for Lafite but elegance class none the less. Hong Kong Fine Wine Team