x
  • Country ranking ?

    3 141
  • Producer ranking ?

    37
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    Wagyu Beef Tournedos Rossini with Truffle Reduction

The Story

Between the estates of Pétrus and La Fleur-Pétrus, amid vineyards, stands a stone house with closed shutters. The road that winds to the house between the vine rows has no signs or indications as to the name of the place. The construction looks more like a maintenance shed for the neighbouring estates than the main building of a winery. However, this is a house that makes one of the most desirable wines in Bordeaux: Château Lafleur.

Lafleur’s wines form an interesting contrast to their neighbour, Pétrus. Their terroirs differ significantly, even though the distance between them is only 50–100 metres. Whereas Pétrus is more seductively rich, full-bodied and intense, Lafleur is charming in its elegance, femininity and subtlety.
Lafleur’s wines are delightful, but they do require aging for at least twenty years in order to display their full, nuanced character. Guinaudeau’s investments into improving quality in all of Lafleur’s functions promise an even better future for the friends of Lafleur. Although tasting the 1947, 1950, 1961, 1975 or 1982, one can only wonder whether Lafleur’s wines could get any better?

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Vintage 1995

Between the estates of Pétrus and La Fleur-Pétrus, amid vineyards, stands a stone house with closed shutters. The road that winds to the house between the vine rows has no signs or indications as to the name of the place. The construction looks more like a maintenance shed for the neighbouring estates than the main building of a winery. However, this is a house that makes one of the most desirable wines in Bordeaux: Château Lafleur.

We drive into the yard and walk up to the door. It is opened by the cheerful Jacques Guinaudeau, fifth-generation owner and winemaker of the estate. Jacques’ great-great-grandfather Henri Greloud bought the land in 1872. Over time, ownership was transferred to Henri’s son Charles and then to Charles’s cousin André Robin, who was known for paying great attention to the quality of the estate’s wines. In 1946, the estate was inherited by André’s daughters Thérèse and Marie, who managed it for nearly four decades. It was under their leadership that the estate produced several magnificent vintages, of which the 1947, 1950, 1961 and 1975 stand out as legendary. In 1981, the sisters turned to their neighbours, the Moueix family, to ask whether Pétrus’s long-term winemaker, Jean-Claude Berrouet, might be interested in consulting and managing their estate. The partnership was made and bore fruit already the next year, when one of the best-ever vintages of Lafleur – 1982 – was created. Three years later, Thérèse died and Marie decided to lease the vineyards to her cousin Jacques Guinaudeau and his wife Sylvie. Since then, the Guinaudeaus have significantly developed the plots and production processes. Their methods and production philosophy are actually closer to Burgundy than Bordeaux. The Guinaudeaus bought the estate in 2002, which was also when their son Baptiste started to work there.

Jacques Guinaudeau leads us into the vineyard. He excitedly praises the uniqueness of the 4.5-hectare estate.
“Lafleur is a single-vineyard wine with exceptional terroir qualities. Firstly, it is located on a very gentle amphitheatrical slope to the north of Pétrus. The soil is clearly more gravelly and brown than the red clay at Pétrus. A comprehensive soil analysis in 1998 found that the estate comprises as many as five different types: the northwest has brown gravel, the south is more clay-based and sandy gravel, and the east has sandy clay with some gravel. In the middle is a mixture of all of those. These have completely different conditions in terms of the grapes’ ripening, size and concentration. The concentration is also affected by the old vines, with their average age of thirty years. The oldest vines actually go back five decades. We work the vineyard as four different plots, even though they go towards a single wine. We grow two varieties, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, but the differences in soil result in very different grapes within each variety. This diversity is the secret to Lafleur’s greatness,” Guinaudeau explains. Weaving between the densely planted vine rows, Jacques goes on: “The vineyard has around 8,000 vines per hectare. Through dense planting we aim not only to increase the grapes’ concentration, but also to protect them from direct sunlight. This is in order that we can ensure the refined style of our wines that results from their fresh fruitiness and crisp acids.”
Due to the terroir factors mentioned above, harvesting and winemaking are done in many phases. A separate wine is produced from each of the four microterroirs. The grapes are picked in many stages and vinified separately for each plot. Guinaudeau keeps track of this multiphase process with the help of a squared-paper notebook. In it he logs when each plot’s grapes are picked the vats in which they end up.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

You have blackberries, minerals, plums on the nose. It opens with greater reticence than its peers, there is the Cab Franc masculinity, the firm tannins, and a lack of distinctive appeal on this showing. There is some rusticity evident at the mid palate, chocolate and coffee next, texturally a little muddled, but then the underlying depth becomes a tad more evident at the finish. Some truffles and tertiary fruit flare forth, though they seem to never quite fully gather their resources to fully showcase their potential allure.

  • 91p
Together with our excellent sommelier we had a discussion around which lafleur to choose for the menu, the possibilities were between the 1995 and 1996. The 1996 is special in that sense that it is almost 100% pure Cabernet Franc making it a bit more tannic and backward than the other vintages, so we decided to go for the 1995 with have a 35% merlot in the final blend. Château Lafleur is a mythical wine, a little jewel which lies between Pétrus and La Fleur Pétrus, at the heart of the greatest wines of Pomerol. Unlike any other major Bordeaux property, Lafleur is almost like a Burgundian domain. The scale is very much smaller than is generally the case in Bordeaux - there are only 4.5 hectares of vines here, in one single parcel, producing about 1,000 cases of Lafleur a year, just this makes it special, to this you put the history of legends such like the 1947, 1975 and 1982, this makes one of the worlds cult wines. For a few to try and many to desire. The 1995 was performing very well on this night. It still produces a lot of tannic but the essence of blackberry and cherry was overwhelming the glass. It is huge and full bodied wine with a long life ahead. The wine was decanted 1,5 hours before served, and still it was massively closed in the nose in the first sip, after 20 min more in the glass the wine exploded. Intense aromas with dark chocolate and mocha notes nice fruit, violet and currant as the most aggressive in the nose. Fine tannic and fabulously fruit on a long sweet finish.
  • 96p

Information

Origin

Pomerol, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Average

Fake factory

None

Highlights

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