The 2016 Lafite-Rothschild is a total stunner. Seamless, racy and voluptuous in the glass, the 2016 is even better from bottle than it was from barrel. Once again, I am blown away by the inner sweetness and purity of the fruit.
The 2016 is, rich, concentrated and yet also light on its feet, in the way only Lafite can be. Dramatic and ample the 2016 Lafite is a beautifully resonant, super-expressive wine endowed with regal beauty and tremendous overall balance. It will drink well for many years and decades.
Drink 2026 - 2066
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (January 2019)
The 2016 Lafite Rothschild is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot, with 15% of the press wine contributing to the blend this year. Deep purple-black in colour, it slowly reveals the most gorgeous perfume of kirsch, lilacs, black raspberries and warm blackcurrants with underlying nuances of cigar box, rose hip tea, cloves, liquorice and pencil lead, plus a waft of garrigue.
Medium-bodied and built like a brick house with a firm yet beautifully ripe, finely pixelated tannic backbone and seamless freshness supporting the amazing intensity of black fruits and floral layers, it finishes very long and provocatively perfumed.
Drink 2022 - 2026
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (November 2018)
Tasted blind. First bottle: Big, burly, mulberry nose. Then a little tart on the end. Big and bold. More concentrated than the … Second bottle: Similar rather glorious but possibly OTT nose and then polished tannins and less tart on the end. Very voluptuous. I’m sure no one else in the world would demand a second bottle of this; it’s just that the Southwold crew are subjecting all these 2016s to such scrutiny. Slightly salty.
Drink 2026 - 2045
Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (February 2020)
Incredible aromas of crushed berries, sweet tobacco and wet earth. So perfumed and gorgeous. Hot stones and cement, too. Full-bodied, dense and powerful with lots of intense tannins and a never-ending finish. Juicy and flavorful. A muscular Lafite, not seen for a long time. Classssssss!
Try after 2025
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (June 2021)
On another level and one of the greatest young Bordeaux I’ve ever tasted, the 2016 Lafite-Rothschild comprises 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot raised in new oak. It takes the classic elegance and class of Lafite and turns the dial up to 11, offering a massive, heavenly array of blackcurrants, cedar pencil, graphite, tobacco, and incense aromas and flavours that soar from the glass.
Deep, full-bodied, and flawlessly constructed, with perfectly integrated fruit, acidity, and tannins, this is legendary stuff all the way. It will be drinkable in 7-8 years and keep for 50-75 years or more. It’s the wine of the vintage from the Médoc along with Mouton. Hats off to director Eric Kohler.
Drink 2026 - 2101
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (February 2019)
About this WINE
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.
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.
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.
Cabernet 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.