x
  • Country ranking ?

    2 510
  • Producer ranking ?

    33
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2030
  • Food Pairing

    Roast lamb served medium-rare

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 1999


Vintage 1999

Winter was peaceful, as during nearly the entire decade, followed by a mild spring and early flowering. From July until mid-August, humid days with partly sunny skies made us concerned about rot and botrytis, which can come on quickly and ravage vineyards. Fortunately, the weather was scorching hot from 15 August until the end of the harvest. These harvests were conducted with record speed in rainy weather.

The bet was a risk: harvest just after maturity. This vintage comprises four of the vineyard’s grapes, which is rare, but identical to the 1996 (Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are rarely used jointly in the fine wine). This vintage has a woody and spicy bouquet, with a structured palate. It is balanced and elegant, with a long finish on echoes of berries and currants.



Château Lafite Rothschild


At the end of 1756, the Duc de Richelieu, the nephew of Cardinal Richelieu, founder of the French Academy, returned home to Paris victorious from a long military campaign. King Louis XV rewarded his achievements by appointing him Governor of Bordeaux in perpetuity.
The Duc de Richelieu, a life long lover of the wines of Burgundy, did not rate Bordeaux wines very highly. So he took with him to Bordeaux the best Chambertin and Clos de Vougeot wines from Burgundy for himself and his entourage. This did not please the high-ranking vintners of Bordeaux, and they sneakily got Richelieu to drink their wines with Burgundy labels on the bottle. When Richelieu’s own personal physician introduced him to the Château Lafite wines, saying they were an elixir that gave a man vigour, his taste in wine began to gradually lean in the direction of Bordeaux. After he had been Governor for 25 years the Duc de Richelieu received an invitation from the King to go to Paris. When at the palace reception the King kindly remarked that he looked 25 years younger than when he was appointed governor, Richelieu solemnly declared: “Your Majesty, I must tell you that I have discovered the secret of eternal youth - Château Lafite.”

The reputation of Lafite as a large viticultural estate was first established with the Segur family, starting with the planting of the Lafite vineyard in the 1670’s and in the early 1680’s by Jacques de Ségur.
The estate then was passed on in the Ségur family, and following that it changed ownership several times. On 8 August 1868, Baron James de Rothschild purchased Château Lafite, which had been placed under public sale.

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.
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”.

Château Lafite Rothschild
33250 PAUILLAC
FRANCE
Fax : +33 5 56 59 26 83
visites@lafite.com
www.lafite.com

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Average Bottle Price

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2005
562€ -6.5% 601€ -8.5% 657€ -26.8% 897€ +26.2% 711€ +478.0% 123€

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.

Tasting note

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Written Notes

Lafite 1999/ The moderate winter turned into a mild spring, leading to early an flowering. The summer months turned out to be warm but humid, bothering with rot problems. Luckily in mid August a dry heat wave arrived, lasting until the harvest which occurred under rainy conditions with record speed. The harvest took place just when the grape had fully matured. This difficult vintage also resulted in a very rare blend in Lafite of four varieties. Cabernet Sauvignon forming around 90% of the blend, while Merlot was accompanied with Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Decanted three hours. Medium-intense ruby red colour. Spices and cedar are dominating on the nose with aromas of cafe latte, cigar box and nutmeg. The very structured palate shows supple tannins, vivid acidity and a balanced dark fruit of black currants and dark berries. Deliciously refined and elegant wine with good balance and lingering finish. An extremely approachable and adorable wine, drinking well now but will keep for another 10-15 years.
  • 91p
Ruby, some coffee, vanilla, cassis, perfumed, floral, gains in depth with air. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, young and almost raw following the 83. Fine and long, but wait another five to ten years, or more.
  • 93p

Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Above Average

Value For Money

Satisfactory

Investment potential

No Potential

Fake factory

None

Glass time

1h

Highlights

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Wine Moments

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

92p
 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1999  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

" Pretty nose, full of flavours. Very elegant, refined and complex. Notable effort for the vintage."

1y 4m ago

92p
 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1999  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

" Pretty nose, full of flavours. Very elegant, refined and complex. Notable effort for the vintage."

1y 4m ago

93p
 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1999  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Ruby, some coffee, vanilla, cassis, perfumed, floral, gains in depth with air. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, young and almost raw following the 83. Fine and long, but wait another five to ten years, or more. "

4y 6m ago

91p
 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 1999  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Lafite 1999/ The moderate winter turned into a mild spring, leading to early an flowering. The summer months turned out to be warm but humid, bothering with rot problems. Luckily in mid August a dry heat wave arrived, lasting until the harvest which occurred under rainy conditions with record speed. The harvest took place just when the grape had fully matured. This difficult vintage also resulted in a very rare blend in Lafite of four varieties. Cabernet Sauvignon forming around 90% of the blend, while Merlot was accompanied with Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Decanted three hours. Medium-intense ruby red colour. Spices and cedar are dominating on the nose with aromas of cafe latte, cigar box and nutmeg. The very structured palate shows supple tannins, vivid acidity and a balanced dark fruit of black currants and dark berries. Deliciously refined and elegant wine with good balance and lingering finish. An extremely approachable and adorable wine, drinking well now but will keep for another 10-15 years.
"

4y 8m ago

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