2023 Château Lafon-Rochet, St Estèphe, Bordeaux

2023 Château Lafon-Rochet, St Estèphe, Bordeaux

Product: 20238007010
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2023 Château Lafon-Rochet, St Estèphe, Bordeaux

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Description

Blend: 64% Cabernet Sauvignon; 29% Merlot; 4% Petit Verdot; 3% Cabernet Franc.

There is plenty to enjoy in this wine. It is the second vintage under the ownership of Jacky Lorenzetti and the arrival of Christophe Congé from Lafite. The proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon is almost the same as in 2022; the edges are a little softer than in other peer examples, by virtue of a bigger role for the Merlot. There is an attractive savoury and woodland character, blending with the classic blackberry and cedar notes. The palate has well-detailed tannins and an appealing, textured finish. The new team are finding more depth and focus, and this remains a good example of its type.

Drink 2029 - 2045

Our score: 16.5/20

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson93/100

Confident colour extraction, this is dark ruby but nuanced, with vibrant reflections. After two years with Christophe Congé as director, you are starting to see more precision and focus in the constructino of the wine, with blackberry and bilberry fruits set against slate and smoked earth. Balanced alcohols, firm taninins. All four varieties in the blend.

Drink 2027 - 2040

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (April 2024)

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Neal Martin, Vinous91-93/100

The 2023 Lafon-Rochet was picked from September 13 to October 5 at 42hL/ha with no saignée. It contains 4% Petit Verdot, as there was more water during the growing season (which Petit Verdot needs_. Matured in 40% new oak, this has quite an intense bouquet with mainly black fruit, hints of graphite and chimney soot, nicely focused though it needs time to absorb the wood. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins that frame the layered blackberry and raspberry fruit laced with white pepper and pencil shavings. This errs slightly toward Pauillac on the finish, which is no surprise given its proximity. Displaying moderate length, this is a fine but grippy, denser Lafon-Rochet that should give 20 years or more of drinking pleasure.

Drink 2029 - 2047

Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Antonio Galloni, Vinous93-95/100

The 2023 Lafon-Rochet is a promising wine. Today, it shows terrific depth, driven by an elevated presence of Cabernet Sauvignon and a healthy dollop of Petit Verdot. Dark blue-toned fruit, lavender, licorice and dried herbs show tons of character. There's plenty of Lafon-Rochet finesse, but with an added kick of textural richness not found in the wines made during the Tesseron era. This comes together beautifully with a bit of time in the glass.

Drink 2030 - 2053

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW91-93+/100

Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2023 Lafon-Rochet leaps with vibrant notes of kirsch, cranberry preserves, and fresh blackberries leading to hints of bay leaves, graphite, and damp soil. The medium-bodied palate is lively and lightly chewy, with great tension adding sparkle to the red and black berry layers, finishing with an herbal lift. The blend is 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc, with pH 3.75.

Drink 2028 - 2042

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent (April 2024)

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Jancis Robinson MW16.5+/20

64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc. 42 hl/ha. Cask sample.

Attractive fruit with a certain depth and intensity. Silky tannins on attack then firm and long on the finish. A chalky, terroir note provides persistence as well. Should provide good medium-term drinking. 

Drink 2030 - 2043

James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 2024)

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Wine Advocate91-93/100

Generous and layered, the 2023 Lafon-Rochet offers up aromas of blackberries, cassis, incense and burning embers, followed by a medium to full-bodied, rich and enveloping palate that's gourmand and charming, concluding with a gently minty finish. Like the 2023, this represents a richer, more demonstrative style for this Saint-Estèphe property, where Christophe Congé and his team are rehabilitating the vineyards.

William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2024)

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James Suckling93-94/100

This is very St.-Estephe, with blackcurrant, lead pencil, graphite and crushed stone. Medium-bodied, linear and structured. Excellent finish. 64% cabernet sauvignon, 29% merlot, 4% petit verdot and 3% cabernet franc. 13.35% alcohol. 3.75 pH.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2024)

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About this WINE

Chateau Lafon-Rochet

Chateau Lafon-Rochet

Château Lafon-Rochet is a 4ème Cru Classé St-Estèphe estate. It was under the ownership for the Tesseron family from 1960 until 2021. The property had been neglected and Guy Tesseron extensively replanted, as well as building a completely new château in "chartreuse" style.

In 2021, Château Lafon-Rochet was acquired by the Lorenzetti family. It joins another trio of Bordeaux estates in the Vignobles Cruse-Lorenzetti portfolio: Châteaux d'Issan, Pédesclaux, and Lilian Ladouys. After a 24-year stint at neighbouring estate Château Lafite-Rothschild, Christophe Congé is now the Managing Director at Château Lafon-Rochet.

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.

Although historically viewed as excessively tannic, 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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Saint-Estèphe

Saint-Estèphe

Saint-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.

Saint-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. 

Saint-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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Cabernet Sauvignon Blend

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.

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