x
  • Country ranking ?

    1 698
  • Producer ranking ?

    21
  • Decanting time

    6h
  • When to drink

    from 2020
  • Food Pairing

    Lamb Loin with Carrot Risotto

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 2011

Chateau Lafite Rothschild began to harvest Cabernet Sauvignon in their northernmost parcels, located not far from Chateau Cos d’Estournel, on September 2, 2011. This is one of the earliest harvests on record for the property. You will, without doubt, be reading quotes from many Bordeaux wine producers that Bordeaux 2011 will, for many chateaux, be their earliest harvest on record since 1893. However, growers situated in some parts of Bordeaux have moved their timetables forward and are harvesting even earlier than previously expected.

Due to the freak barrage of hail and rain in the Northern Medoc, centred near the Pauillac-St. Estephe border, many chateaux in the vicinity have decided to start picking earlier than they had originally planned, in order to avoid possible problems with the onset of rot The most notable property is the famed First Growth, Chateau Lafite Rothschild. It is possible that the storm, which dropped more than half an inch of rain in a twenty minute period, caused some flooding to the cellars of Lafite Rothschild.

“With our 2011 harvest, we harvested earlier because the growing of the vines was earlier than usual, due to the very hot spring. But the summer maturation weather conditions were fresh and cool, so the wine is of a cooler style than a late vintage. The nice weather conditions at the end of August and September were very good for phenolic ripeness,” Fabien Teitgen from Château Smith Haut Lafitte explains.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Tasting note

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Written Notes

Tasted twice - last time in November 2014. Consistent notes. Excellently flavoured nose with dark cherries and grated chocolate, sophisticated with finesse and elegance. Lighter than usual, but remarkably complex, refined and long. Seductive stuff.
  • 95p
Château Lafite 2011: Produced from a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot. Spice, blackberry liqueur, licorice, earth, graphite and gravel scents lead to a full-bodied wine with supple tannins, freshness and good concentration. The wine ends with a bright, elegant cassis-filled finish. 95-96 Pts
  • 96p

Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Above Average

Value For Money

Unsatisfactory

Investment potential

Below Average

Fake factory

None

Glass time

2h

Inside Information

A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot (harvested between September 3-21), the 2011 Lafite Rothschild came in at 12.6% natural alcohol (considerably lower than in 2010 and 2009). Exhibiting a deep ruby/purple color, lots of crushed rock, red and black currant, forest floor and underbrush characteristics, moderate tannin and medium body, it is built somewhat along the lines of the 1999 and 2001. It should be a 20- to 25-year wine, but it is not at the level of the 2008, 2009 and 2010. Fresh acids give the wine a somewhat more clipped feeling than most great Lafites have exhibited. Nevertheless, there is a lot of freshness and vibrancy to this vintage.

Score: 90/93 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (200), April 2012

The 2011 Lafite-Rothschild is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot with an alcohol level of 12.6%. It has wonderful purity on the nose with blackberry, cassis, raspberry, a touch of graphite and an attractive floral note. It is feminine and beguiling. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins on the entry, crisp acidity, very harmonious and alluring with blackberry, raspberry and a saline touch towards the long caressing finish. It is a more sensual Lafite that I was expecting, with great persistency and poise. Tasted April 2012.

Score: 93/95 Neal Martin, eRobertParker.com, April 2012

Love the nose on this, with sweet tobacco, delicate currant, cedar and blackberry. Full body with integrated tannins and a juicy, fruity, subtle finish. The texture to this wine is beautiful. Better than I remember from barrel. Try in 2019.

Score: 94 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, January 2014
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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
 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 2011  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Tasted twice - last time in November 2014. Consistent notes. Excellently flavoured nose with dark cherries and grated chocolate, sophisticated with finesse and elegance. Lighter than usual, but remarkably complex, refined and long. Seductive stuff."

1y 4m ago

95p
 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 2011  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Tasted twice - last time in November 2014. Consistent notes. Excellently flavoured nose with dark cherries and grated chocolate, sophisticated with finesse and elegance. Lighter than usual, but remarkably complex, refined and long. Seductive stuff."

1y 4m ago

96p
 Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  Lafite-Rothschild 2011  ( Château Lafite-Rothschild )

"Château Lafite 2011: Produced from a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot. Spice, blackberry liqueur, licorice, earth, graphite and gravel scents lead to a full-bodied wine with supple tannins, freshness and good concentration. The wine ends with a bright, elegant cassis-filled finish. 95-96 Pts"

4y 9m ago

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