2020 Château Lafon-Rochet, St Estèphe, Bordeaux

2020 Château Lafon-Rochet, St Estèphe, Bordeaux

Product: 20208007010
 
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2020 Château Lafon-Rochet, St Estèphe, Bordeaux

Description

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Cabernet Sauvignon 61%, Merlot 33%, Petit Verdot 3% and Cabernet Franc 3%

This estate has made huge strides in recent years. The investment in the winery has allowed for increased refinement in the winemaking process – and it shows with the 2020 vintage. This is generous (as with all 2020 wines), but a little more dialled back than some, with more freshness and focus. Seemingly gentle extraction has provided lovely purity and a crunch to the fruit. The finish is fine and elegant. This is a delightful and classy wine.

Drink 2026-2038.

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson93/100
Antonio Galloni, Vinous93-95/100
Neal Martin, Vinous92-94/100
Jancis Robinson MW17/20
James Suckling93-94/100
Jeb Dunnuck94-96/100
Jane Anson93/100
Attractive, well-paced fruits, plenty of clarity to the flavours, together with a feeling of linearity to the tannins. Austerity through the mid-palate constrains the brambled cassis fruit, but things build back up again and this is a measured, successful wine that will age well. 3% Petit Verdot completes the blend. First year with Eric Boissenot accompanying Jean-Claude Berrouet as consultants.

Drink from 2027 to 2042

Jane Anson, Decanter (April 2021) Read more
Antonio Galloni, Vinous93-95/100
The 2020 Lafon-Rochet is fabulous. The aromatics along are dazzling. Gracious and yet effusive, with tons of nuance, the 2020 dazzles from start to finish. Inky dark fruit, new leather, spice, lavender and menthol fill the room with soaring intensity. Silky, elegant and so pure, Lafon-Rochet is shaping up to be one of the real under the radar gems of 2020. It's a terrific effort from Basile Tesseron. Don't miss it.

Drink from 2030 to 2050

Antonio Galloni, Vinous (June 2021) Read more
Neal Martin, Vinous92-94/100
The 2020 Lafon-Rochet was picked September 15–20 and marks the first collaboration between consultants Jean-Claude Berrouet and Eric Boissenot, who both worked on the blending. It has a really lovely bouquet of blackberry, briar and faint estuarine scents, hints of crushed iris flower emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins and modest depth, and quite fleshy; lip-smacking salinity urges you to take another sip. Intriguingly, it comes across a tad Pomerol-like on the finish, completing a top-notch Lafon-Rochet that may well end up at the top of my banded score.

Drink from 2024 to 2044

Neal Martin, Vinous (May 2021) Read more
Jancis Robinson MW17/20
Full bottle an admirably light 1,290 g. Cask sample taken 6 April. 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot. Deep lustrous purplish crimson. Interesting vitality to the nose, almost as though biodynamic techniques were employed here. Lovely balance of ripeness and vitality. This is a very successful 2020. It may be dismissed by some because the tannins are not obvious but it's a delightful drink – already! Very distinctive. Perhaps not for seriously long-term cellaring but well done Basile Tesseron for producing something so appetising and groundbreaking. The finish is impressively persistent. 13.5% Drink 2025 – 2040
James Lawther MW, jancisrobinson.com (April 2021) Read more
James Suckling93-94/100
Blackberry and spice with firm, chewy tannins that show polish and focus. It’s medium-to full-bodied with excellent energy. Blackberry and blackcurrant character on the finish with a touch of cedar and spice.

James Suckling (April 2021) Read more
Jeb Dunnuck94-96/100
Loads of red and black currants, lead pencil shavings, tobacco, and dried flower notes emerge from the 2020 Château Langoa Barton, a gorgeous looking 2020 offering medium to full-bodied richness, ripe tannins, and a great finish. It has the concentrated, backward vibe of the vintage yet brings remarkable opulence and texture. It's impressive.

Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com (May 2021) Read more

About this WINE

Chateau Lafon-Rochet

Chateau Lafon-Rochet

Château Lafon-Rochet is a 4ème Cru Classé St-Estèphe estate that has been owned by the Tesseron family since 1959. The property had been neglected and Guy Tesseron extensively replanted, as well as building a completely new château in "chartreuse" style. Today Lafon-Rochet is run by Albert and Michel Tesseron.

Lafon-Rochet's vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon 56%, Merlot 40%, Cabernet Franc 4%) lie on clay-gravel soils and are superbly sited in the south of the commune opposite Château Lafite. The wines are matured in oak barriques (40% new) for 18 months.

Lafon-Rochet's wines were, for many years, criticised for being excessively tannic and austere and generally were considered to lack charm. In the last decade or so, improved viticultural techniques and a greater percentage of Merlot in the final blend has led to purer expressions of fruit and the wines being generally more supple and elegant. Lafon-Rochet needs at least 10 years of bottle ageing to show at its best.

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St Estephe

St Estephe

St Estèphe is the northernmost of the most important communes of the Médoc and borders Pauillac on its southernmost border, with only a gully and stream separates it from Ch. Lafite. To the north lies the Bas-Médoc.

St Estèphe is defined by the depth of its gravel, which is ubiquitous but of varying depths and occasionally very shallow, when clay predominates. This keeps the soil cooler and wetter than its counterparts so that the wines can appear fresh in lighter vintages, but superbly successful in hot, dry years. 

The best châteaux in the south of the commune have the deepest soil and the thickest gravel. Cos d'Estournel has an exceptional terroir with its vineyards being located on a south-facing ridge of gravel with excellent drainage. 

St Estèphe is the least gravelly of main Médoc communes and in the north of the commune the vineyards are heavier and more clay-based leading to a rustic style of wine being produced.

The wines can appear austere in youth with a discernable ferric note at some châteaux, but the best typically display good depth of colour, pronounced acidity an tannins in youth and are exceptionally long-lived. At their best, they are the equal of almost any Bordeaux. The well-regarded St Estèphe co-operative controls the production of about half the appellation.

Recommended Châteaux
Cos (Ch. Cos d'Estournel), Ch. Montrose, Ch. Calon-Ségur, Ch. Lafon-Rochet, Ch. Les Ormes de Pez, Ch. Beau-Site, Ch. Cos Labory, Ch. Phélan-Ségur

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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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