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News

“Twenty twenty-one has a multi-vintage profile; it is difficult to summarise. It was key to remain agile, and to anticipate the next step.”  
Omri Ram, Château Lafleur

As always, there are some exceptions. At Château Lafleur in Pomerol, July provided stable ripening conditions. Vegetative growth actually stopped, enabling the vines to focus their energy on fruit maturation. August was warm and dry enough for  the vines to undergo hydric stress, and the estate achieved the perfect balance of phenolic ripeness and sugar. The resulting wines are amongst the highlights of the vintage.

Robert Parker, America’s leading wine critic: “one of the most distinctive, most exotic, and greatest wines – not only in Pomerol, but in the world.”

Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve, France’s most famous wine authorities: “The wine amply deserves its high prices.”

Michael Broadbent, doyen of British wine tasters: Not that much because the wine is so rare, although he did comment about the 1950, “Concentrated, certainly very impressive. But who wants to go to bed with a wrestler?”

Stephen Browett of Farr Vintners, Britain’s biggest fine wine trader: “The greatest wine I ever had was a magnum of Lafleur 1947 from John Avery’s private cellar, even though it was served alongside the famous Cheval Blanc 1947.”

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History

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.

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Vineyards

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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Winemaking

Once we enter the cellars and see the facilities, we understand the need for the logbook. Lafleur’s production facilities are less than half the size of Pétrus’s, which are small in themselves, and there are only a few fermentation vats.“To retain the wines’ sophisticated qualities – delicious fruitiness and perfumed aromas – we avoid maturing the wines alone in new oak barrels. Therefore only a half of our barrels are new,” Guinaudeau says and explains that the final blending and winemaking are made at the end, in the oak maturation phase.

 

The oak maturation is monitored and the final decisions regarding which wines will be bottled under the Lafleur label and which as the number two wine, Pensées de Lafleur, are only made at the end. Ultimately there may be a few barrels that Guinaudeau rejects for either wine, and they are sold off. Even in the best years, the estate only produces 17,000 bottles, of which 12,000 are Lafleur and only 5,000 are Pensées de 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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3 different wines with 80 vintages

Winemaking since 1846

  • Jacques Guinaudeau

    Owner and Winemaker
    “Lafleur is a single-vineyard wine with exceptional terroir qualities"
  • Robert Parker

    Wine Critic
    “one of the most distinctive, most exotic, and greatest wines – not only in Pomerol, but in the world.”

Highlights

Latest news

WINERY NEWS Château Lafleur / “Twenty twenty-one has a multi-vintage profile; it is difficult to summarise. It was key to re  more ...
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TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS 100 BEST CHAMPAGNES 2022 / by Champagne Magazine and Tastingbook.com
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TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS Gérard Basset Foundation announces 14 funding grants to fuel diversity in the wine industry / The Trustees of the Gérard Basset Foundation have awarded funding grants to 14 institutional and community partners to fund diversity wine education programmes after raising over £1,200,000 at the Golden Vines awards ceremony and related auctions.
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Wine Moments

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

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lafleur . In a tasting of  19 wines 

There were actually six celebrations, arguably seven, when I turned fifty, it was one heckuva week.  This evening in particular was also noteworthy.  It was a dinner of only magnums, and 24 of New York City’s finest collectors, most of whom were already friends before (and certainly friends after), all came together to share many toasts throughout the night of their favorite tipples.  By the end of the night, I was feeling fuzzy, slightly warm and definitely tipsy.

2m 12d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lafleur . In a tasting of  20 wines 

Château Haut-Brion Blanc 2021 / 55% Semillon + 45% Semillon. Great intensity of green apple, pear and pineapple, acidity, crispiness, structure and length. Vibrant. Long lemony aftertaste. Sheer class. 98+p.

3m 2d ago

 James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lafleur . In a tasting of  17 wines 

Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte Blanc 2021 / This has so much depth and power, with complex notes of flint, oyster shell, white pepper, dried mango, lemon, papaya, apricot stone and chalk. Medium-to full-bodied. Bright, yet creamy. It’s so long and concentrated. Wait and see. 90% sauvignon blanc, 5% semillon, 5% sauvignon gris. From organically grown grapes. 98-99

3m 8d ago

 Simone Hubert, Sommelier (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lafleur . In a tasting of  20 wines 

1988 Bordeaux vintage tasting: Château Margaux 1988/Black fruits the nose has brooding richness the palate depth with black cherry and cassis backed by dark chocolate and liquorice. There is mid freshness balance the tannins integrated discreet but supporting. Depth of the fruit at the back the rich fruit gives way to freshness the finish is remarkably light and elegant.

3m 14d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Editor of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Lafleur . In a tasting of  29 wines 

Lafleur 1950 / This was a fascinating bottle. It was in fine form,  and the level was top-shoulder. Decanted only 45 minutes. Light and feeble colour. Exposed and very seductive, fragrant, candied sweet bouquet. Flawless and silky, but also with a firm backbone of minerals. Rich and soft wine with drying fruit that echoes chocolate and coffee. Has lots of complexity, but requires fast drinking. Long and remaining at the end. Sensational, old-style refined Lafleur. 

4m 1d ago

 Château Lafleur  has news

“Twenty twenty-one has a multi-vintage profile; it is difficult to summarise. It was key to re  more ...

4m 17d ago

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lafleur . In a tasting of  26 wines 

1961 Dom Perignon Wedding Cuvee (Magnum) - The magnum of 1961 DP, the 'Wedding Cuvee' for Charles and Diana, was as good as older Champagne gets.  Even though it was the 43rd wine I sampled on this day, it got my attention.  'So good!' was the initial impression.  Rich, vivacious and sparkling as much as anything possibly can; its wintry, white flavors balanced out with its sweet caramel and honeyed finish.  So much spritz out of magnum still, that always makes the difference!  Rocket fuel!

7m 7d ago

 Achim Becker / Wineterminator.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lafleur . In a tasting of  14 wines 

Large 1971-vintage tasting with all the best wines.

8m 4d ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lafleur . In a tasting of  185 wines 

BWW2021 competition finals were filled with superb lineup of the world's greatest wines and superb finds from various price categories. The finals that were run in various blind tasting sessions, revealed many surprises. Most commonly, the fact that all the wines were so enjoyable already at this young stage, although many of them will deliver so much more after ageing of 10-15 years. Congratulations for all the winners!

1y 8m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Editor of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lafleur . In a tasting of  61 wines 

The third long and rewarding BWW2020 -tasting day is now behind. Here is my personal list over 90 points wines! Thank you again for all the other tasters - tasting 146 young fine wines from all over the world is always a hard work day - but because they are "the Best Wines of the World - it makes so much easier and more fun. 

1y 9m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Editor of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Lafleur . In a tasting of  37 wines 

A long and interesting BWW2020 -tasting day one is behind. Here is my personal list over 90 points wines! Thank you for all the other tasters - tasting 120 young fine wines from all over the world is always a real and rare pleasure -it also felt like I was back on the school bench - and the teachers were the best wines in the world. What a day one!

1y 9m ago

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