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Since 1960 Chateau Lafon Rochet has been owned by the Tesseron family. The family has received international fame from their Cognac label, Tesseron, and the skyrocketing quality around their other Chateau, Pontet Canet. Although Lafon Rochet is not to be outshined by Pontet Canet, few produce wine on the same level, and none do it for this price as Lafon Rochet.
At Lafon-Rochet, 41 hectares of vines cover two ridges of Saint-Estephe. The soil is composed of gravel and clay. On one hand, the gravel provides excellent natural drainage. On the other, the clay regulates the water flow and provides the vines with the necessary quantities.
The vineyard is mostly planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with small Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot plots, which provide pleasant surprises for some vintages. The youngest vines for this “Great Wine” are at least 35 years old; the oldest vines, date as far back as 1938. The old vines produce less fruit but add great complexity to the wines. One set to music, these grape varieties make up the estate’s wines’ score.
The 2016 Lafon-Rochet has a very engaging bouquet, a mixture of red and black fruit laced with pencil shavings and loamy scents. In fact, the more you nose this wine, the more its complexity becomes apparent. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins and a fine line of acidity, ripe and generous yet maintaining outstanding tension and revealing a judicious touch of peppercorns on the finish, which fans out gloriously. This is a fabulous Lafon-Rochet and certainly the best bottle of 2016 that I have encountered. Tasted blind at the Southwold tasting. ~95 Vinous Media
An explosion of all manner of black berries with discreet, toasty and smoky oak, makes this a joyful St.-Estèphe. Then the great balance of ripeness, lively acidity and velvety tannins come together beautifully at the elegant finish to make this the best wine from this producer in modern times. Needs two or three years to soften. Try in 2022 ~94 James Suckling
Now producing impressive wines, this estate has made a firm, rich wine in this vintage. Its tannins are very present, but they have a velvet edge that is immediately attractive. Not that the wine won't age: its structure and good acidity will see to that. Drink from 2025. ~94 Wine Enthusiast
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