Château Lafite Rothschild is one of the most renowned wine properties in the Médoc. Owned by Baron Eric de Rothschild and Lafite Rothschild is also one of the largest Médoc estates.
The vineyards of Ch. Lafite are found at the northern tip of the Pauillac appellation, just below the boundary with St. Estephe. There is evidence of an estate on this site as far back as the 14th century, and of exports of wine to the UK in the early 17th century.
The current owners, the Rothschilds of the famous banking dynasty, bought the property in 1866, but this is a different brand of the family from that which purchased Ch. Mouton-Rothschild. For many years the Rothschilds’ control of Lafite was very much exercised at a distance, compared to the hands-on influence of Baron Philippe at Mouton, but since the Second World War this has changed somewhat, with the current owner, Eric de Rothschild, presiding over an extensive programme of investment in both vineyard and cellar.
With a base largely of gravel the vineyard is unsurprisingly dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon (71%) with the balance comprising Merlot (25%) Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (1%). Grapes are hand-harvested, and vinified parcel by parcel. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats, after which the wine is run off into barrels, 100% new for Lafite itself, a mixture of new and one-year-old barrels for the second wine.
The Grand Vin volume varies greatly according to the vintage, but is frequently less than half the total crop, and is usually no more than 20,000 cases.
A recurring phenomenon in recent years, the beginning of the winter was mild and dry, and it was only at the end of January that beneficial colder temperatures arrived, accompanied by rain. Bud break began in early April as usual, and the vines then grew quickly, as they had ample reserves of water and the weather was mild. In June, flowering was early and uniform, which is always a promising sign.
The influence of the Atlantic ocean and the Gironde estuary helped to reduce the effect of a somewhat hot summer with high temperatures. Water stress was high, but rain in August brought the freshness required for the grapes to change colour and then to ripen perfectly. Conditions were ideal during the harvests, enabling us to obtain optimal ripeness for each plot.
FOOD PAIRINGS:It is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Lafite Rothschild is also good when matched with Asian dishes, rich fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms and pasta.
TASTING NOTES: Very dark colour, with purple glints, indicating that the wine is still very much in its youth.The nose is still quite closed, which is to be expected after only a few months in the bottle. But it already presents good depth and plenty of complexity. Notes of fresh strawberries and tobacco, in which the wood has become perfectly integrated.The attack is simultaneously supple and very powerful. The intensity on the palate rises steadily… gently coming to rest on a plateau that is already very high. Not at all aggressive, it continues with great length, and in perfect harmony.
This is a Lafite that is currently revealing very little of its potential; to experience it in its full glory will require waiting for some years.
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