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  • Country ranking ?

    1 981
  • Producer ranking ?

    24
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    now to 2025
  • Food Pairing

    Veal Chops in Rich Marsala Sauce

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 1990

The yield was abundant and of outstanding quality. Excellent climatic conditions for the harvests. Very deep colour. A complex bouquet with currant, blackberry, smoke, leather, and spice aromas. You can fathom just a hint of oak. The bite is sincere and elegant, with many tight and mature tannins. It has a silky texture, and a very long finish. This wine may be preserved for a very long time.

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Average Bottle Price

2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2005
622€ -3.3% 643€ +6.8% 602€ -11.3% 679€ -22.6% 877€ -10.7% 982€ +451.7% 178€

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

17 tasting notes

Tasting note

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Written Notes

The last flight was upon us, and my notes were a bit briefer. We had to start gathering everyone’s votes and then tally them, so I rushed through this flight a bit more than the others. The first wine was a classic and great. It was all about the cedar, supported by morning cereal, yeast and even a hint of coconut. Its palate had excellent citric tension, and it was nice to see a good show for the ‘house’ wine, so to speak, as this was the 1990 Chateau Lafite Rothschild (95).
  • 95p
Names and reputations don't come much bigger. Lafite in Asia now is, as they say in the classics, bigger than Ben Hur! And the prices could fund a remake of that epic with change left over. Lafite '90 is one of those wines that seemingly can't win. If it is as good as one hopes, as one expects, then it has done what it is supposed to. If it falls short, then it is tall poppy time. Fortunately, it was an absolute winner. This is a glorious Bordeaux, at its peak, though of course, it also has many years ahead of it. And it has serious class. It is balanced, amazingly long and offers a delightful mix of flavours. Plenty of cloves, lots of spice, cedar, cigar box. There was the merest hint of an intriguing chicken coop note but certainly all it did was add to the complexity and the core was all sweet, beautiful fruit. And there is plenty of complexity here. Worth noting that the alcohol level noted on the bottle was a mere, almost wimpy in today's terms, 12.5%. This wine is all class. Great Bordeaux doesn't get much better than this. 98
  • 98p

Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Value For Money

Satisfactory

Investment potential

Good

Fake factory

Be Cautious

Inside Information

Wine Advocate #183
Jun 2009
Robert M. Parker, Jr. 96 Drink: 2014 - 2044 $687-$2240
Interestingly, a bottle of 1990 Lafite Rothschild I pulled from my cellar for a video blog on my web site was still buttoned down, tight, and even with extended decanting was not showing as much as I would have hoped. However, a bottle tasted, of all places, in Seoul, Korea in February, was only a few points short of perfection. That amazing performance motivated me to pull another bottle out of my cellar and follow it over the course of two days. Sure enough, by the second day the wine was roaring from the glass. The 1990 Lafite has turned out far better than my early assessment. While it still possesses some firmness, and performs like a late adolescent in terms of its evolution, it boasts gorgeous aromas of cedar, tobacco leaf, cassis, and lead pencil shavings. The explosive aromas are followed by a fleshy, full-bodied wine that should hit its peak in 5-8 years, and last for 25-30 more. Release price:($1400.00/case)

 

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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.

95p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1990  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"The last flight was upon us, and my notes were a bit briefer. We had to start gathering everyone’s votes and then tally them, so I rushed through this flight a bit more than the others. The first wine was a classic and great. It was all about the cedar, supported by morning cereal, yeast and even a hint of coconut. Its palate had excellent citric tension, and it was nice to see a good show for the ‘house’ wine, so to speak, as this was the 1990 Chateau Lafite Rothschild (95)."

1y 6m ago

98p
 Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1990  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Names and reputations don't come much bigger. Lafite in Asia now is, as they say in the classics, bigger than Ben Hur! And the prices could fund a remake of that epic with change left over.
Lafite '90 is one of those wines that seemingly can't win. If it is as good as one hopes, as one expects, then it has done what it is supposed to. If it falls short, then it is tall poppy time.
Fortunately, it was an absolute winner. This is a glorious Bordeaux, at its peak, though of course, it also has many years ahead of it. And it has serious class.
It is balanced, amazingly long and offers a delightful mix of flavours. Plenty of cloves, lots of spice, cedar, cigar box. There was the merest hint of an intriguing chicken coop note but certainly all it did was add to the complexity and the core was all sweet, beautiful fruit. And there is plenty of complexity here.
Worth noting that the alcohol level noted on the bottle was a mere, almost wimpy in today's terms, 12.5%.
This wine is all class. Great Bordeaux doesn't get much better than this.
98
"

1y 9m ago

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