x
  • Country ranking ?

    32
  • Producer ranking ?

    3
  • Decanting time

    45 min
  • When to drink

    Now-2025
  • Food Pairing

    Honey Soy Venison

The Story

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”.

 

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Vintage 1953

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.

PN






 

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Average Bottle Price

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2005 2000 1995
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€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

28 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Full, Brick red and Clear

ending

Long, Lingering and Round

flavors

Blackberry, Blackcurrant, Vanilla, Blueberry, Mint and Pepper

nose

Intense, Refined, Fresh and Ripe

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Low tannin, Complex, Perfectly balanced, Balanced, Full-bodied, Elegant, Round, Harmonious, Dry and Silky tannins

Verdict

Masterpiece and Transparent

Written Notes

The 1953 Lafite Rothschild was another spectacular magnum. Initially five out of eight tasters preferred the 1953, but by the end of the night, it was the same vote for the 1959. The ’53 had a honeyed, buttered nose with all the classic components lined up. Its palate was full and rich out of magnum, long yet elegant. The wine was ‘persuasive and seductive,’ said Wolf. ‘Sounds like your wife,’ I replied. This was another unbelievable beauty, a graceful and sexy wine, but it didn’t have the weight and depth of the 1959, at least not in my book (96M).
  • 96p

The nose is immediately ravishing, cedar, spice and violets perfume the nostrils. Aromatically you are simply stunned. The velvet texture, the round, sweet, bolt of silk on the palate, the Lafite lead pencil, all seduce you with their encompassing charms. You get lively mineral and spice laced red fruit at the mid palate, some ceps and a gently inviting smokiness. The tannins are gorgeously resolved, there is a sweet seamlessness and harmony to the wine that almost defies parallels. Twice now, the wine has been just disarmingly beautiful, stunning in its layered, complex, nuanced, yet emphatic Lafite elegance, showing the sheer poise that Cabernet Sauvignon can display. The smooth, sweet, nuanced finish is just magnificent. This is a simply extraordinary wine, and along with the ’59, arguably the greatest Lafite of the last century. 99 Points+

  • 99p
Château Lafite-Rothschild 1953 was equally good, but of course different. Maybe a bit finer, more precise, less sensual. More floral aromas, perhaps even more length. Unimaginable purity of flavors, all balanced and generous.
  • 100p

Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Excellent

Fake factory

Serious

Glass time

2h

Inside Information

Bordeaux Book, 3rd Edition 
Jan 1998
Robert M. Parker, Jr. 100 Drink: N/A $2977-$4052
On two occasions I rated the 1953 100 and on another occasion, nearly perfect. According to some old-timers, the wine has been fully mature for almost 30 years. It possesses that extraordinary Lafite fragrance of minerals, lead pencil, cedar, and spice. It is velvety-textured, wonderfully round, and sweet, but so well-delineated and balanced. It is best purchased today in magnum and larger formats unless you can be assured the wine came from a cold cellar and has not been traded frequently. Last tasted 10/94.
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Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

99p
 Omar Khan, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1953  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

The nose is immediately ravishing, cedar, spice and violets perfume the nostrils. Aromatically you are simply stunned. The velvet texture, the round, sweet, bolt of silk on the palate, the Lafite lead pencil, all seduce you with their encompassing charms. You get lively mineral and spice laced red fruit at the mid palate, some ceps and a gently inviting smokiness. The tannins are gorgeously resolved, there is a sweet seamlessness and harmony to the wine that almost defies parallels. Twice now, the wine has been just disarmingly beautiful, stunning in its layered, complex, nuanced, yet emphatic Lafite elegance, showing the sheer poise that Cabernet Sauvignon can display. The smooth, sweet, nuanced finish is just magnificent. This is a simply extraordinary wine, and along with the ’59, arguably the greatest Lafite of the last century. 99 Points+

6m 4d ago

98p
 Omar Khan, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1953  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"This is and was last night again a truly landmark wine. 1953 is a vintage at times more afflicted with variability of bottling, but here the stars aligned magnificently. Here we had extraordinary Lafite fragrances of cedar, mineral, lead pencil and spices, with hints almost of Cabernet Franc like richness wafting from the glass. A velvety sweetness massages the palate, it is alluring, ethereal, with an exceptional acidic tension and balance, becoming gently, ever so gently fuller and rounder past the mid palate, fragrant sweetness returns as it rallies for a simply mesmerizing finish, with such amazing depth and grace it is a tribute to the so often elusive but then almost incomparable magic of Lafite. 98 Points+"

1y 11m ago

100p
 Frank Smulders MW, Pro (Austria)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1953  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Château Lafite-Rothschild 1953 was equally good, but of course different. Maybe a bit finer, more precise, less sensual. More floral aromas, perhaps even more length. Unimaginable purity of flavors, all balanced and generous."

1y 11m ago

97p
 Jan-Erik Paulson, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1953  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"This is the most elegant and classic examples of what I understand as “claret” of all wines, assuming you get a good bottle. This was very good. 97 pts."

2y 5m ago

100p
 Jan-Erik Paulson, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1953  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Lafite 1953 100 points: The greatest of all Lafites if you have a good bottle. This vintage shows large bottle variations. They needed close to a year to bottle everything and that from cask to cask. At its best it is the definition of great claret. It can also be very tired and past its best. A great bottle will make up for the odd poor one though.
It lives on its perfect balance rather than power."

2y 6m ago

100p
 Ray Thomsen, Wine Writer (Switzerland)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1953  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Opened 10 minutes before. Mid to light red with a hint of brown on the edges. on the nose It possesses that extraordinary Lafite fragrance of minerals, lead pencil, cedar, and spice. It is wonderfully round, and sweet, but so well balanced with strong lead pencils. Super refreshing not a powerwine. A wine like this would not be produced today. After awile it opens out in the glass and seems to gain depth it blossoms beautifully in the glass. The most elegant wine by far in the flight."

2y 6m ago

100p
 Frank Smulders MW, Pro (Austria)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1953  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

" Château Lafite-Rothschild 1953 was equally good, but of course different. Maybe a bit finer, more precise, less sensual. More floral aromas, perhaps even more length. Unimaginable purity of flavors, all balanced and generous. "

2y 7m ago

96p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1953  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"The 1953 Lafite Rothschild was another spectacular magnum. Initially five out of eight tasters preferred the 1953, but by the end of the night, it was the same vote for the 1959. The ’53 had a honeyed, buttered nose with all the classic components lined up. Its palate was full and rich out of magnum, long yet elegant. The wine was ‘persuasive and seductive,’ said Wolf. ‘Sounds like your wife,’ I replied. This was another unbelievable beauty, a graceful and sexy wine, but it didn’t have the weight and depth of the 1959, at least not in my book (96M)."

3y 9m ago

98p
 Frank Smulders MW, Pro (Austria)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1953  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Château Lafite-Rothschild 1953 was equally good, but of course different. Maybe a bit finer, more precise, less sensual. More floral aromas, perhaps even more length. Unimaginable purity of flavors, all balanced and generous."

4y 9m ago

 Juha Lihtonen, Sommelier (Finland)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1953  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"sophisticated yet restrained"

4y 11m ago

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