x
  • Country ranking ?

    2 330
  • Producer ranking ?

    30
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    2020-2035
  • Food Pairing

    Beef

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 2004


Vintage 2004

After a rainy winter and a cold spring, the months of June and July were dry and warm. August was mild and in September the weather was good without being very warm, which led to slow ripening and the harvest dates being pushed back to the end of September. Patience was needed to wait for the grapes to be perfectly ripe.

On the nose, the wine is closed and is beginning to open slowly. Note of preserved fruit. Rich at first, then becoming full and balanced, opulent and very elegant. A very long, smooth and silky finish.

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Tasting note

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Written Notes

From a maagnum. Dense, blackfruits, black cherries. Dark chocolate. Still youthful and firm. Quite long and lots of tannins. Drinking this too young. Does have good length. Good underlying acidity. A good and enjoyable wine but, at this stage, lacks exuberance and soul.
  • 92p

Ruby. Cedar, tobacco, so complex and elegant, coffee, leather, blackcurrants, red bell peppers. Such elegant texture, mouthwatering acidity, ripe and quite high of ripe tannins, perfect balance, such an aftertaste, very long and very impressive. Way too young, and still so seductive, pure and fragrant. Fantastic. 95

Even if the prizes are soaring beyond reach, I have never been more lucky. I have never tasted as many Lafite's as I have the last year, and I have also been lucky enough to visit them this summer. I hope the luck will continue, as Lafite has left the prizerange when it is plausible for a bottle to find a way into my cellar. The wines are fantastic endeed!

  • 95p
Lafite Rothschild 2004 (barrel sample) 96+p Tasted in April 2005. This was a real thrill. Sublime everywhere with velvety texture, silky tannins, exquisite depth and structure, great length. Racy and sophisticated. For sure it can last for 20-25 years.
  • 96p

Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

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