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.
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”.
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
|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€|