x
  • Country ranking ?

    2 323
  • Producer ranking ?

    30
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    Beef Goulash and Wide Egg Noodles

John Salvi MW
Colour:  To me rather surprisingly light.  Not old or brown but just not as deep as I expected.

Nose:  This is a wine which starts slowly on both the nose and palate.  On the nose it then gradually opens up and reveals more and more and becomes more and more generous.  Finally it is remarkably intense, with fruit, freshness and spice.

Palate:  As for the nose one thinks “is this not light”?  But NO!  Roll it around on the tongue; inhale, swallow and gradually the flavours grow stronger and stronger.  Deep, noble and integrated tannins, deep rich fruit at the core of the wine, spice and leather.  This great vintage, from the great Chateau of Lafite, is the perfect example of the iron fist in the velvet glove.  It has everything.  Great wine for now and for the foreseeable future.

94 Points Wine Spectator
Tasted from magnum. A really good, suave example of Lafite from a vintage in which it often tastes harsh and unyielding with tannins. This bottle blends spicy, nutmeglike aromas with abundant fruit flavors and meaty undertones. It is plenty firm and tannic, but not overly so. The finish is exceptionally long, too.--1961 Bordeaux horizontal. Drink now through 2010. 

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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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Average Bottle Price

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2005 2000
1 170€ +26.9% 922€ +9.4% 843€ -9.7% 934€ -5.4% 987€ -26.5% 1 342€ -7.6% 1 452€ +186.4% 507€ +46.5% 346€

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

24 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Full, Cherry Red and Bright

ending

Medium and Gentle

flavors

Bread, Plum, Violet, Cigar-box, Leather and Tobacco

nose

Intense, Refined, Opulent and Seductive

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Low tannin, Balanced, Good texture, Medium-bodied, Elegant, Dry and Silky tannins

Verdict

Fine

Written Notes

I think there were about ten of us, so Lady Agah brought a double magnum of 1961 Lafite Rothschild. Niiiiice. And so was this bottle, which was about as good as this wine ever gets. There was honeyed fruit and nice supporting carob and cedar aromas. There was a delicate spice to its sweet, enticing nose. A big debate ensued about the overall quality of the wine; there was no question this was in ‘excellent’ territory, 93-94 points for those of you keeping score. Dapper Dave admired its ‘velvety animal texture.’ It was soft, easy and creamy, just beautiful. Every refresher invigorated the wine again. I was kind of torn between 93 and 94 points, vacillating back and forth. Bottles will likely score lower, but I could still go back to it at the end of the night after all the great wine that ensued…and still enjoy. Drink up, as not all bottles are created like double magnums, and this isn’t one of the legendary wines from this legendary vintage (93D).

  • 93p
The first time I’ve seen this wine and it lived up to expectations. No doubt, bottles vary considerably but this one was in great shape. There was a small ullage but it appeared to provide no adverse influence on the wine. The colour was certainly mature – deep reds/browns. The nose was gentle spices but beef stock and mushroom notes prevailed. There was also some of that classic mature Bordeaux dry hay character. Wonderfully complex. The finish is amazingly long, better than one could imagine. Magnificent stuff. Still wonderfully alive for a wine that has more than half a century under its belt. The last bottle of a case a friend has had for many, many years in ideal storage so no concerns re condition or fakes. It is easy to think that the reputation of the wine and the vintage influence the score but I’d like to think that they did not play a role. Just a wonderful mature, complex Bordeaux.
  • 98p

5 stars ; "An attractive, rich, convincing colour with perfect graduation from the centre of the glass to the rim. It was poured and tasted at 8pm, ripeness and bottle age noted. Exactly 30 minutes later it had gained complexity and a rich, spicy 'biscuity' bouquet. It had a sweetness of fully ripe grapes and alcohol, a mouthfilling flavour, very good tannins and acidity. Complete……Will Keep. Give it time to breathe."

Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Extraordinary

Value For Money

Satisfactory

Investment potential

Very Good

Fake factory

Serious

Glass time

1h

Inside Information

Wine Advocate #90
Dec 1993
Robert M. Parker, Jr. 91 Drink: N/A $1199-$2509
(Magnum)

After a dozen or more disappointing examples of this wine in a regular format (750 ml), I finally bestowed an outstanding rating on this renowned wine. This magnum possessed surprisingly deep color for Lafite, a sweet, caramel, cedary, lead pencil-scented nose, rich, medium-bodied, spicy flavors with noticeable tannin, high acidity, and a long finish. Other examples of the 1961 Lafite have displayed a light color with considerable orange/rush, attenuated, thin flavors, and excessive acidity. There has been speculation that the 1961 Lafite was bottled over an extraordinarily long time, and that the earlier-bottled examples possess more fruit than those bottled later. Who can say?
Read more

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Wine Moments

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

 Michael Broadbent notes, Pro (United Kingdom)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1961  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

5 stars ; "An attractive, rich, convincing colour with perfect graduation from the centre of the glass to the rim. It was poured and tasted at 8pm, ripeness and bottle age noted. Exactly 30 minutes later it had gained complexity and a rich, spicy 'biscuity' bouquet. It had a sweetness of fully ripe grapes and alcohol, a mouthfilling flavour, very good tannins and acidity. Complete……Will Keep. Give it time to breathe."

7m 24d ago

93p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1961  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

I think there were about ten of us, so Lady Agah brought a double magnum of 1961 Lafite Rothschild. Niiiiice. And so was this bottle, which was about as good as this wine ever gets. There was honeyed fruit and nice supporting carob and cedar aromas. There was a delicate spice to its sweet, enticing nose. A big debate ensued about the overall quality of the wine; there was no question this was in ‘excellent’ territory, 93-94 points for those of you keeping score. Dapper Dave admired its ‘velvety animal texture.’ It was soft, easy and creamy, just beautiful. Every refresher invigorated the wine again. I was kind of torn between 93 and 94 points, vacillating back and forth. Bottles will likely score lower, but I could still go back to it at the end of the night after all the great wine that ensued…and still enjoy. Drink up, as not all bottles are created like double magnums, and this isn’t one of the legendary wines from this legendary vintage (93D).

8m 5d ago

93p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1961  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Two mighty magnums signaled the end of the Bordeaux part of our evening, beginning with a 1961 Lafite Rothschild. This wine has never lived up to the reputation of the vintage, but it is still an excellent wine. It had a lighter nose than one would expect from a ’61 First Growth, but there were pleasing aromas of toffee, pencil, cedar and caramel. Its palate was smooth, light and tender with a nice core of sweetness leaning on the toffee side. I believe ‘jolly good’ might be an apt descriptor (93M)."

2y 29d ago

90p
 Jan-Erik Paulson, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1961  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Similar to the 1953 vary varied. It is the weakest of the premier crus in 1961 and nowhere near the 1959 in quality. Good bottles can be very charming and nice, but quite disappointing for the vintage."

2y 6m ago

93p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1961  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"
I think there were about ten of us, so Lady Agah brought a double magnum of 1961 Lafite Rothschild. Niiiiice. And so was this bottle, which was about as good as this wine ever gets. There was honeyed fruit and nice supporting carob and cedar aromas. There was a delicate spice to its sweet, enticing nose. A big debate ensued about the overall quality of the wine; there was no question this was in ‘excellent’ territory, 93-94 points for those of you keeping score. Dapper Dave admired its ‘velvety animal texture.’ It was soft, easy and creamy, just beautiful. Every refresher invigorated the wine again. I was kind of torn between 93 and 94 points, vacillating back and forth. Bottles will likely score lower, but I could still go back to it at the end of the night after all the great wine that ensued…and still enjoy. Drink up, as not all bottles are created like double magnums, and this isn’t one of the legendary wines from this legendary vintage (93D)."

3y 10m ago

93p
 Juha Lihtonen, Sommelier (Finland)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1961  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"D 5 h / G 2 h
Little hazy, moderately intense brick red colour. The elegant nose is less expressive but has many layers in it making it fascinating and seductive – warm, vegetal, leafy, and floral. The palate reveals vivid acidity together with round tannins and less of a body weight. At the same time very polished and lean in style with lingering finish with elegant black currant and cedar notes. A classy wine although not a great charmer. This reserved wine benefits for at least 5 hour decanting to expose itself completely. Keep well another 15-17 years.
"

4y 7m ago

98p
 Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1961  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"The first time I’ve seen this wine and it lived up to expectations. No doubt, bottles vary considerably but this one was in great shape. There was a small ullage but it appeared to provide no adverse influence on the wine.
The colour was certainly mature – deep reds/browns. The nose was gentle spices but beef stock and mushroom notes prevailed. There was also some of that classic mature Bordeaux dry hay character. Wonderfully complex. The finish is amazingly long, better than one could imagine. Magnificent stuff.
Still wonderfully alive for a wine that has more than half a century under its belt.
The last bottle of a case a friend has had for many, many years in ideal storage so no concerns re condition or fakes.
It is easy to think that the reputation of the wine and the vintage influence the score but I’d like to think that they did not play a role. Just a wonderful mature, complex Bordeaux.
"

4y 7m ago

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