2020 Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux

2020 Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux

Product: 20208008857
 
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2020 Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux

Description

Cabernet Sauvignon 92%, Merlot 7%, Petit Verdot 1%

This is a masterclass in composed, confident and understated winemaking. Lafite has always been the most reserved first growth, easy to misread in youth, yet languorously uncoiling as it matures. These hallmarks are so evidently still in situ, despite the challenges of the year. The alcohol is a mere 12.8%, allowing a limpidity of expression and providing a conduit for all the other components to flow along. Individual adjectives are insufficient: the flavours are spirals of fruit, earth, mineral, dried leaf and spice, all softly persistent. Note that the tannins are measured as even stronger than 2018 and ’19, but their cool salinity is simply absorbed into the essence of the experience.

Drink 2030-2070

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson97/100
Antonio Galloni, Vinous95-97/100
Neal Martin, Vinous96-98/100
Wine Advocate96-98/100
Jancis Robinson MW19/20
James Suckling99-100/100
Jeb Dunnuck97-99/100
Michael Schuster97-99/100
Jane Anson97/100
This is pretty much as close to entirely Cabernet Sauvignon as Bordeaux gets (92%) and yet it has an incredibly fine, gentle richness to the tannins. They build up pretty quickly though, so that by the end of the palate you start to feel the closing in and tightening, deftly underscoring how well this will age. The kaleidoscope of flavours and aromatics that Lafite does so well is fully on display, nothing trying too hard, a velvet texture to the tannins where the cassis fruit, earth, crushed stone and graphite is held in from beginning to end. Impressive that even in dry vintages like 2020 with the real concerns over global warming, the top Bordeaux estates can still produce wines of this quality.

Drink from 2028 to 2046

Jane Anson, Decanter (April 2021) Read more
Antonio Galloni, Vinous95-97/100
The 2020 is a super-classic Lafite-Rothschild of grace and finesse. A reticent introvert, Lafite impresses with its vertical lift and palpable energy. It is a wine of regal bearing that does not feel the need to say much, and yet everything is very clearly there. Bright acids and strong, saline notes come alive in the glass as the long, persistent finish unfolds with remarkable grace. The 2020 is simply exquisite. It's a fabulous showing from the team led by Technical Director Eric Kohler.

Drink from 2035 to 2060

Antonio Galloni, Vinous (June 2021) Read more
Neal Martin, Vinous96-98/100
The 2020 Lafite-Rothschild is much more intense and complex compared to the Carruades this year. This First Growth bursts from the glass with beautifully defined blackberry and wild strawberry scents laced with sprigs of wild mint and juniper berries. The palate is medium-bodied with pliant tannins that frame the pixelated black fruit. This is quintessential Lafite in that it is not a powerful or immensely structured wine, but rather a First Growth with unerring balance and harmony, one that is unashamedly classic in style. There is just the right amount of dryness on the finish to urge you back for another sip. So Lafite it has its name tattooed onto its DNA. It will begin to soar after 10 years in the cellar.

Drink from 2030 to 2070

Neal Martin, Vinous (May 2021) Read more
Wine Advocate96-98/100
Displaying a deep purple-black color, the 2020 Lafite Rothschild takes a little swirling and coaxing to unlock scents of freshly crushed blackcurrants, boysenberries and spiced plums, followed by emerging nuances of red roses, raspberry preserves, underbrush and unsmoked cigars, with a waft of cedar chest. The medium-bodied palate is an exercise in elegance and finesse, featuring tightly wound layers of red and black berries and loads of mineral sparks, framed by finely grained tannins and well-poised tension, finishing with fantastic length and the most stunning perfume. Magnificent achievement. This 2020 is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, coming in at 12.8% alcohol and a pH of 3.9.

Drink 2028 - 2063

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (May 2021) Read more
Jancis Robinson MW19/20
A very masculine Lafite with a powerful tannic frame (bigger than 2019 and 2018). Deep, intense and stately on the nose with mineral-graphite notes to the fore. Palate rich but with a massive charge of fine-grained tannin and lingering freshness. Enormous length on the finish. Incredible potential. 

Drink 2032 - 2060

James Lawther MW, jancisrobinson.com (May 2021) Read more
James Suckling99-100/100
Rather ethereal and so refined with finesse, focus and brightness that provides incredible energy and pedigree. It’s full-bodied with ultra fine tannins that go on and on. Superb presence with tannins that melt into the wine. This is 12.8%. I love the wine. Lots of dark fruit and fresh tobacco. Lead pencil, too. 92% cabernet sauvignon, 7% merlot and 1% petit verdot.

James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (April 2021) Read more
Jeb Dunnuck97-99/100
The 2020 Château Lafite-Rothschild checks in as 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot brought up in roughly 90% or more of new French oak. It's a deep, inky-hued Lafite boasting incredible notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil shavings, graphite, crushed stone, and gravelly earth-like minerality. Full-bodied and beautifully balanced, with terrific purity of fruit, it has ripe tannins, a layered, seamless mouthfeel, and a great, great finish. It should surpass the 2015 and 2017 and be in the same realm as the 2018 and 2019. Despite its richness and depth, it hit just 12.8% alcohol, with an IPT of 72 and a pH of 3.5. It’s going to be just about immortal.

Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com (May 2021) Read more
Michael Schuster97-99/100
Dense, mineral, gently oaky to smell, as always so subtle, fine, demanding of attention; fresh, concentrated, superfine in tannin texture, a gloriously harmonious balance; sweet, succulent, aromatically complex and refined, gently fleshy yet so fresh tasting, very long across the palate, softly mouthcoating, so full of delicate perfume, and intense yet so subtle cassis fruit, and with a terrific farewell of fruit and mineral aromas. A seductively complete and classic beauty, a discreet power, an effortlessly serene and polished performance, a top Lafite. Remarkable at under 13% ABV!

Drink 2036 - 2060

Michael Schuster, The World of Fine Wine (May 2021) Read more

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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