1985 Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux

1985 Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux

Product: 19858008857
 
1985 Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux

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Description

The 1985 Lafite-Rothschild is only a modest success in the context of the vintage. Here, it is totally outclassed by the 1985 Las Cases. Light, slightly loose-knit red berry fruit on the nose is complemented by warm gravel and smoky aromas, though it lacks a bit of energy. The palate is nicely balanced, not powerful but focused, with adequate freshness. As mentioned in my previous tasting note, this has dispensed with some density in recent years, and if your expectations are modest, it remains enjoyable. Tasted at Hameau de Barbaron in Burgundy.

Drink 2019 - 2035

Neal Martin, vinous.com (Dec 2019)

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Critics reviews

Neal Martin, Vinous93/100

The 1985 Lafite-Rothschild is only a modest success in the context of the vintage. Here, it is totally outclassed by the 1985 Las Cases. Light, slightly loose-knit red berry fruit on the nose is complemented by warm gravel and smoky aromas, though it lacks a bit of energy. The palate is nicely balanced, not powerful but focused, with adequate freshness. As mentioned in my previous tasting note, this has dispensed with some density in recent years, and if your expectations are modest, it remains enjoyable. Tasted at Hameau de Barbaron in Burgundy.

Drink 2019 - 2035

Neal Martin, vinous.com (Dec 2019) Read more

Jancis Robinson18/20

Second in the trio of vintages served blind at the 150th anniversary celebration. Very impressive and absolutely at its peak. Juicy and mineral with a sweet, rich nose. Neat and well balanced with no excess of tannins. Really lively. Firm, salty and savoury. This is one of those Lafites that dances on the palate. Great balance. Bravo! Birth year of Eric's elder son and Saskia's elder brother (she is a 1987 baby).

Drink 2000-2030

Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com (May 2018)

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Wine Advocate93/100

Tasted at the château, the 1985 Lafite-Rothschild was the best example of this wine that I have tasted a dozen or so times. It has a beautiful nose that is just classic Lafite. It is still fresh yet understated, stately even, with tobacco and cedar-tinged red berry fruit. It is not a powerful bouquet, but there is something...magnetic about it. The palate is still youthful with fine tannin, like the nose, understated yet very well balanced. The acidity here is perfectly judged with an almost nonchalant finish. You almost miss its virtues - it is just so self-effacing and insouciant. Just a really lovely Lafite-Rothschild at the peak of its powers. Tasted March 2016.

Drink 2016 - 2030

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (Jul 2016) Read more

James Suckling96/100

This is so beautiful now and exhibits real aged-Bordeaux character with currant-bush, tobacco and berry aromas that follow through to a medium body with firm tannins and a creamy finish. Still so together. The finish turns to cigar box, sandalwood and berry. Drink or hold.

James Suckling, jamessuckling (Jun 2021) Read more

Jane Anson94/100

Last tasted in 2018 at the Lafite 160th anniversary supper, and it is delivering just as much pleasure a few years later - this is classically true when a wine is on its plateau, particularly in good vintages, when it can hold the line for a stubbornly long time. This just contains so much of what makes Lafite Lafite - there is an effortless elegance, it is subtle but rewarding, building in layers and complexity over the palate. Now in the tertiary period where the fine tannins are fully integrated but still offering support to brambled fruits, cured leather, black spice, sage, mint and salted truffles. Baron Eric in charge, Gilbert Rokvam technical director and Yves le Canu director. The vineyard was 90ha at the time, so around 20ha smaller than today. 5% Petit Verdot completes the blend.

Drink 2021 - 2036

Jane Anson, Decanter.com (Feb 2021)

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About this WINE

Château Lafite Rothschild

Château Lafite Rothschild

The iconic Château Lafite Rothschild was classified as a first growth in 1855 and has been in the Rothschild family since 1868. Today, Lafite is headed up by Saskia de Rothschild, daughter of long-time steward Baron Eric de Rothschild.

Château Lafite Rothschild is an iconic first-growth property in the Pauillac appellation of Bordeaux, France. It achieved its top-tier rank in 1855 and has been in the Rothschild family since 1868. Today, Lafite is headed up by Saskia de Rothschild, daughter of long-time steward Baron Eric de Rothschild.

The property is located at the northern tip of Pauillac, separated by St Estèphe by marshland and the Jalle de Breuil stream. Two areas of the vineyard are particularly notable: the gravel plateau, which is the heart of the grand vin; and the Plateau de Carruades, from which Lafite’s second wine takes its name. The vineyard is planted mostly to Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), along with Merlot (25%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (2%).

A new cellar was completed here in time for the 2011 harvest, with a combination of stainless steel and concrete tanks, of varying sizes. The barrels come from Lafite’s own cooperage, located not far from the property.

In addition to its 110 hectares of vines, the estate has 300 hectares of woods and marshes. The team consider this to be an integral part of the ecosystem.

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Pauillac

Pauillac

Pauillac is the aristocrat of the Médoc boasting boasting 75 percent of the region’s First Growths and with Grand Cru Classés representing 84 percent of Pauillac's production.

For a small town, surrounded by so many familiar and regal names, Pauillac imparts a slightly seedy impression. There are no grand hotels or restaurants – with the honourable exception of the establishments owned by Jean-Michel Cazes – rather a small port and yacht harbour, and a dominant petrochemical plant.

Yet outside the town, , there is arguably the greatest concentration of fabulous vineyards throughout all Bordeaux, including three of the five First Growths. Bordering St Estèphe to the north and St Julien to the south, Pauillac has fine, deep gravel soils with important iron and marl deposits, and a subtle, softly-rolling landscape, cut by a series of small streams running into the Gironde. The vineyards are located on two gravel-rich plateaux, one to the northwest of the town of Pauillac and the other to the south, with the vines reaching a greater depth than anywhere else in the Médoc.

Pauillac's first growths each have their own unique characteristics; Lafite Rothschild, tucked in the northern part of Pauillac on the St Estèphe border, produces Pauillac's most aromatically complex and subtly-flavoured wine. Mouton Rothschild's vineyards lie on a well-drained gravel ridge and - with its high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon - can produce (in its best years) Pauillac's most decadently rich, fleshy and exotic wine.

Latour, arguably Bordeaux's most consistent First Growth, is located in southern Pauillac next to St Julien. Its soil is gravel-rich with superb drainage, and Latour's vines penetrate as far as five metres into the soil. It produces perhaps the most long-lived wines of the Médoc.

Recommended Châteaux
Ch. Lafite-Rothschild, Ch. Latour, Ch. Mouton-Rothschild, Ch. Pichon-Longueville Baron, Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Ch. Lynch-Bages, Ch. Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Ch, Pontet-Canet, Les Forts de Latour, Ch. Haut-Batailley, Ch. Batailley, Ch. Haut-Bages Libéral.

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Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

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