x
  • Country ranking ?

    19
  • Producer ranking ?

    2
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    now to 2025
  • Food Pairing

    Beef Wellington

John Salvi MW
Colour:  A deeper colour than the 1961 and at the same stage of evolution, if not a touch younger!

Nose:  As we drank this together with the 1961, the comparison was fascinating.  Here the strength, depth and density were more immediate and striking.  Also it stays that way throughout the time it spends in the mouth and going down the throat.  Here we see Cabernet showing its prime characteristics – leather, cigar box etc.  Intensely Pauillac also.

Palate:  This wine is a sort of Adonis.  It has a splendid structure and the flesh on the bones is superbly shapely and elegant.  Many preferred it even to the 1961!  This wine has harmony, balance, length, fruit, charm, power – everything!  Surely this says it all.  A very great wine which was magnificent drinking tonight but which will give consummate pleasure for many year to come.  At the same time it is a model Lafite of which they can be intensely proud

99 Points Robert Parker
“The 1959 is unquestionably the greatest Lafite-Rothschild that has approached full maturity. It remains to be seen whether vintages such as 1982, 1986, and 1990 will reach a similar height. The super-aromatic bouquet of flowers, black truffles, cedar, lead pencil, and red fruits is followed by one of the most powerful and concentrated Lafites I have tasted. Medium to full-bodied, velvety-textured, rich, and pure, it is a testament to what this great estate can achieve when it hits the mark. This youthful wine will last for another 30 or more years.”

5* Michael Broadbent
“Tasted from magnum. This vintage, for Lafite, deserves the reputation that '61 has. Only the '89 vintage tasted better out of 93 vintages in the tasting. Its hallmark is a minty juniper aroma backed by luscious, rich, elegant flavors of black cherry so ripe and intense that they're almost pruny. Complete and delicious. Drink now through 2005” – 98 points Wine Spectator 

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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 1959

The harvest began on 23 September and André Portet notes in the château records that the year gave ‘très grands vins’. 158 tonneaux were made, equivalent to about 190,000 bottles. After destemming, the must was fermented in large oak vats. Temperature was adjusted by either heating some must separately and adding it to a vat, or by pumping cold water into coils piping around the vats. After fermentation the wine was decanted into new oak barrels, coopered at the estate, and aged for about 30 months with racking every three, before being egg white-fined and bottled at the château. Portet and Revelle would have discussed how much press wine to add to the blend, and it is likely that in 1959 very little would have been required.
 

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Average Bottle Price

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2005 2000 1995
2 580€ +17.8% 2 190€ -9.9% 2 431€ +20.8% 2 012€ -1.9% 2 050€ -16.4% 2 453€ -34.7% 3 754€ +210.2% 1 210€ +53.2% 790€ +78.3% 443€

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

33 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep and Ruby red

ending

Long, Smooth and Extensive

flavors

Blackberry, Cedar, Cigar-box, Leather, Earthy and Tobacco

nose

Intense, Pure, Opulent and Generous

taste

Average in Acidity, Medium tannin, Perfectly balanced, Well-structured, Well-Integrated, Full-bodied, Elegant, Round, Focused, Sweet and Silky tannins

Verdict

Transparent and Intelligent

Written Notes

The 1959 Lafite Rothschild is one of my favorite all-time Bordeaux, and this bottle didn’t disappoint.  It had all the usual suspects and hung tough with its two tough competitors.  ‘Gorgeous’ summed it up nicely (98+).

  • 98p

“First among equals” in the pantheon of ’59 greats in Bordeaux, Lafite at the height of its powers. It seemed more tannic in its delineation before the dish arrived, its gentle muscularity a little jarring against the mellifluous gentleness of the ’53. You have plums, currants and cedar on the nose. It opens with flowers on the palate, truffles, lead pencil and then at the mid palate, red fruit. It softens the sumptuous plushness of the ’59 vintage with such astonishing Lafite grace. And you then have hints of licorice and mint, tinged with orange sorbet almost. If the more resolved siren like palate song of the ’53 wasn’t so bewitching, the latent and blossoming perfection of this wine would have been even more evident. Let the stunning symmetry soften just that wee bit more, and Olympus will have been scaled once more. 97 Points++

 

  • 97p

Tasted in Hong Kong. Very fresh bottle, rich and thick, very deep, lots of aromas like cedar. Superb

  • 99p

Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Very Good

Fake factory

Serious

Glass time

1h

Drinking temperature

18C

Inside Information

Wine Advocate #95
Oct 1994
Robert M. Parker, Jr. 99 Drink: 1994 - 2024 $2150-$8750 (500)
Tasted 9 Times With Consistent Notes Except For One Corked Magnum

The 1959 is unquestionably the greatest Lafite-Rothschild that has approached full maturity. It remains to be seen whether vintages such as 1982, 1986, and 1990 will reach a similar height. The super-aromatic bouquet of flowers, black truffles, cedar, lead pencil, and red fruits is followed by one of the most powerful and concentrated Lafites I have tasted. Medium to full-bodied, velvety-textured, rich, and pure, it is a testament to what this great estate can achieve when it hits the mark. This youthful wine will last for another 30 or more years.
Read more

Highlights

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Wine Moments

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98+p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1959  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

The 1959 Lafite Rothschild is one of my favorite all-time Bordeaux, and this bottle didn’t disappoint.  It had all the usual suspects and hung tough with its two tough competitors.  ‘Gorgeous’ summed it up nicely (98+).

1m 14d ago

97p
 Omar Khan, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1959  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

“First among equals” in the pantheon of ’59 greats in Bordeaux, Lafite at the height of its powers. It seemed more tannic in its delineation before the dish arrived, its gentle muscularity a little jarring against the mellifluous gentleness of the ’53. You have plums, currants and cedar on the nose. It opens with flowers on the palate, truffles, lead pencil and then at the mid palate, red fruit. It softens the sumptuous plushness of the ’59 vintage with such astonishing Lafite grace. And you then have hints of licorice and mint, tinged with orange sorbet almost. If the more resolved siren like palate song of the ’53 wasn’t so bewitching, the latent and blossoming perfection of this wine would have been even more evident. Let the stunning symmetry soften just that wee bit more, and Olympus will have been scaled once more. 97 Points++

 

7m 6d ago

97p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1959  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

Who says China gets all the Lafite? Not The Mogul, who pulled out a 1959 Lafite Rothschild next. What a great bottle, this was clearly deeper and darker than the 1961. There was much more forest and cedar to this black Knight and night of a wine. Gentleman Jim noted ‘cinnamon, allspice and clove.’ Its flavors showed carob again, but this time with layers of caramel on top. This was a rich and saucy wine with nice concentrate to it in a grape seed and oil kind of way. There were solid desert flavors on its dry finish. This ‘screamed’ Lafite to Big Boy (97).

9m 4d ago

99p
 Sebastien Abric / Acker Merrall & Condit, Pro (France)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1959  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

Tasted in Hong Kong. Very fresh bottle, rich and thick, very deep, lots of aromas like cedar. Superb

9m 14d ago

98p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1959  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Of course, what would a great flight of 40s and 50s Bordeaux be without a 1959 Lafite Rothschild? This has always been my favorite all-time Lafite and one of the greatest bottles of the 20th Century, and this bottle didn’t change either of those opinions. The ’59 had a superb nose of sweet cassis and pencil with a great perfumed quality. This was a rich, sumptuous and sensual claret. Andy admired its ‘smooth’ character, and I did its thick finish (98+). "

1y 2m ago

99p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1959  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"The next wine was also from 1959, and ‘the best bottle I ever had,’ per Dr. Feelgood. I think he meant the particular wine, but it could have been every bottle ever as this 1959 Lafite Rothschild was staggeringly good. This was classic in every sense of the word. The cedar, the wheat, the pencil…this was a rich and thick wine that was as good as Bordeaux gets. Sebastien found it ‘deep,’ and there was super sweet fruit with a dry edge. The Emperor found it ‘flawless’ (99)."

1y 6m ago

98p
 Jan-Erik Paulson, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1959  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"The most consistently good of all Lafites. I have never had a poor bottle. Still youthful with great fruit, a touch of eualyptus and a great balance. Will live forever. Needs to be decanted about an hour before drinking."

2y 7m ago

100p
 Frank Smulders MW, Pro (Austria)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1959  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Château Lafitte-Rothschild 1959: a great wine, with a sensual texture, minute-long length with mineral, salty aspects. Elegant yet powerfol aromas on the nose, remembering of old wood (like in old mahogany furniture). Again perfect balance. "

2y 8m ago

98p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1959  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Bad Boy brought a perfect bottle of 1959 Lafite Rothschild. Everywhere I go, this wine seems to follow me, as it should as it is about as pleasurable a Bordeaux to drink in the world right now. What a wine, especially when Bad Boy was its third owner, knowing the entire history of the wine. There was so much fruit here, like grape meeting sexy back. Cedar and carob complemented its fruit perfectly, along with vitamins and cereal. This was so fresh, and I was stunned to learn this was decanted 2 ½ hours ago. Wow. It was so young and so delicious, it got the highest rating from one of our distinguished six guests, ‘PP.’ I asked, ‘PP? What’s that?’ I should have known better. ‘Pure P****,’ I was told. I’ll let you channel your own inner Match Game and figure out the ‘Blank’ (98)."

3y 8m ago

98p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1959  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"A trio of magnums made liftoff official, considering the first was a 1959 Lafite Rothschild. Having had this twice out of bottle in the past month or two, it was good to have another reference point J. This magnum was ‘extraordinary…really extraordinary,’ per one of Wolf’s guests, and he was right. This was a much deeper and darker wine, with black forests and holes needing further research and exploration. There were also chestnuts, smoke, cedar, more roasted nuts and layers of complications in this incredible nose. Black was the fruit on its rich, lush palate. Wolf hailed it, ‘unmistakably Pauillac,’ while Bipin countered, ‘unmistakably Lafite.’ It was saucy and smoky with dark flavors of fruit and middle earth. Rich kept appearing in my notes over and over, as did ‘so young.’ One of the guests (who would know) called it, ‘one of the greatest wines of the century.’ Nuff said (98M)."

3y 10m ago

97p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1959  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Who says China gets all the Lafite? Not The Mogul, who pulled out a 1959 Lafite Rothschild next. What a great bottle, this was clearly deeper and darker than the 1961. There was much more forest and cedar to this black Knight and night of a wine. Gentleman Jim noted ‘cinnamon, allspice and clove.’ Its flavors showed carob again, but this time with layers of caramel on top. This was a rich and saucy wine with nice concentrate to it in a grape seed and oil kind of way. There were solid desert flavors on its dry finish. This ‘screamed’ Lafite to Big Boy (97)."

3y 11m ago

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