The Château Lafite estate run by the Rothschilds is, with its 100 hectares of cultivated land, the largest of the main Pauillac vineyards.
It is located in the highest part of the area and the view from its château, with its conical towers that appear on the label, takes in the banks of the River Gironde, which flows nearby. The wines are a blend of four different varieties of grape – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Lafite matures slightly earlier than other Premier Cru wines in the region on account of the generous amounts of Merlot used, and it is this that also makes the wine more delicate and subtle than those wines which are completely dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon.
“Lafite has a soul, a beautiful, generous, kindly soul. Lafite turns bare earth into heaven. Lafite is harmony, a harmony between man and nature, because without our magnificent winegrowers, nothing would be accomplished.”
Baron Eric de Rothschild
Of the five Premier Cru wines in the region, Château Lafite to my mind has managed to produce the year’s best wine in many of the top years in 1900th centrury. The times I have spent in the company of a 1934, 1953, 1959, 1982 and 1986 have been unforgettable. And it was then that I always remembered how many wine critics fondly describe Lafite as ‘the perfection of elegance’.
Vineyard soil: fine gravel mixed with aeolien sands on a bedrock of tertiary limestone
Production area: 103 ha
Grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (71%), Merlot (25%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (1%)
Average age of vines: 30 years
Harvest method: hand picked
Winemaking: the vinification is nowadays done with all the sophisticated instruments which modern oenology has created. Fermentation takes place in large oak vats in which the musts remain for 18 to 25 days.
Ageing: the wines are aged entirely in new barrels for 18 to 24 months. During this time,the wine is racked 7 times and is fined with the whites of 6 eggs per barrel. Only certain vats are selected to make the Grand Vin, Lafite. The others are used to make the second wine of Lafite, the “Carruades de Lafite”.
1953 Château Lafite-Rothschild
Since Lafite is more “sophisticated” and less massive than other premier cru-wines, it is also most open to variations in quality, especially in weak years. Particularly in the 1960´s up to 1975 its quality was often not equal to other premier cru-wines. But from the year 1975 on its wines have lived up to their reputation. “The Perfection of Elegance” is a definition many critics connect with Lafite, and this celebrated 1953 Lafite convincingly proved its justification to me and other tasting participants!
A Perfect looking bottle and the level was by the neck. Decanted 1 hour. Beautiful, mature-brick colour. Sound and open bouquet with a hint of mint and sweetness. Soft and pleasing, mouth-filling wine. Incredible elegance and a feminine, classic Lafite with great depth and fragrant finish. Sensitive and multilayered, lingering experience. Tasted 17th times in the last five years with very variable notes. The best bottles were very near perfection, but the rest were already quite one-dimensional and dry. But with a little bit of luck this exquisite Lafite is the best Lafite you willl ever taste - a marvellous wine.
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
|1 890€ +4.9%||1 801€ -35.2%||2 780€ +29.1%||2 154€ +23.1%||1 750€ -12.4%||1 997€ -48.7%||3 890€ +527.4%||620€ +21.1%||512€ +48.4%||345€|