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  • Country ranking ?

    3 073
  • Producer ranking ?

    42
  • Decanting time

    1h
  • When to drink

    now
  • Food Pairing

    lamb Stew with Spring Vegetables

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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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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Wine Information

Last drunk at home to bring in the New Year 2010, a truly magnificent bottle that came from my late father-in-law's cellar. 1945, 2000 and 2008 were the only years when the bottle was embossed with the vintage. The colour was like a deep, 20-year old Tawny Port. My drinking partner (and husband) David Peppercorn made the spot-on remark, 'sooner or later, Lafite takes over from the vintage' - and this was never more true.
An intoxicating, exciting bouquet of heather and honey - pure nostalgia - with that ethereal Lafite quality. You could almost drink it on the nose. You do not feel you are drinking a big, tannic wine, but there is firmness and luscious body behind the scented bliss. The fabulous, persistent, sweet Lafite flavour at the end, together with the extraordinary Lafite taste of a rich compote
of wild herbs. As David says, all-conquering Lafite, all through. Serena Sutcliffe, MW 

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Vintage 1945

The world’s best wine vintage – 1947 or 1945? Tastingbook tasted all the best wines from these two great vintages.

If the wine producers from different regions were asked to name the best vintages from their winemaking history, the most would name 1947 or 1945 as one of the great ones. If we then compared them together there would be most likely only one vintage that the most if not every producer had named on list – 1947.

We wanted to test that theory and we tasted them agains each other and the winner was 1947 – by far.

The vintage 1947 was a magical vintage. It remains in the history as one of the only vintages that all well-established quality wine regions in the world were blessed with superb weather conditions. The heat waves  were experienced all around the world and for instance the whole Europe was bating under scorching sun and experiencing a heat wave  during the summer. This resulted very concentrated and highly ripe grapes. The producers had challenges to handle the very ripe grapes with high sugar levels as there was a constant risk of bacterial contamination in less hygenic cellars that had no artifical cooling systems. As there was no technology to use, many invoked on huge blocks of ice to cool the room temperautre down and even putting ice in their fermentation tanks.

This vintage has proven to yield very long lasting wines from all around the world. The wines are marked with sweet and ripe fruit character and warming alcohol. Due to the poorly hygenic winemaking facilities, many of the wines show volatile characters. Some might find this as a fault, but for many mature wine lovers this feature is even a preferred character. However, when buying the wines from this vintage, one should be aware that there is high level of bottle variations and the risk of having highly volatile wines is remarkably high.

1945 was an exceptional year throughout the whole France, from Côte-Rôtie to Bordeaux. Due to the warm and dry conditions, the grapes were very concentrated and produced an extraordinary, but unfortunately small yield. The harvest in 1945 was an early harvest, which started on the same date as 1982, September 13. The wines began life with massive levels of tannin and took quite a few decades to develop. Due to the high tannin levels, many of the wines still show well today.

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Average Bottle Price

2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2005 2000 1995
2 310€ +4.5% 2 210€ +0.9% 2 190€ +10.2% 1 988€ -14.3% 2 320€ -6.5% 2 480€ -14.2% 2 890€ -10.2% 3 220€ +333.4% 743€ +90.5% 390€ +21.9% 320€

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.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

16 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Medium, Brownish and Dark

ending

Medium, Smooth, Extensive and Harsh

flavors

Blackcurrant, Cedar and Chocolate

nose

Refined, Unclean, Volatile and Mature

taste

Average in Acidity, Low tannin, Complex, Perfectly balanced, Mature, Medium-bodied, Aggressive, Round, Vigor, Vivid and Medium-Dry

Verdict

Transparent and Sophisticated

Written Notes

The 1945 Lafite Rothschild had a touch of VA in the nose that blew off with time. Aromas of ramps and leafy greens gave way to caramel and cedar. Its palate was fleshy, and that initial touch of madeira blew off into a solid and delicious wine, but not one of the vintage’s elite (94).
  • 94p

Lafite 1945 – at first sip it was obvious, that something superb from Haut Medoc was in the glass. Well-preserved cherries on the nose and palate, acidity was there and supported fruit in an exemplary way, pure elegance and sophisticated touch, great complexity and lingering finish. Well-stored wine for sure. 95p.

  • 95p

This bottle of 1945 Lafite-Rothschild comes from famous Graham Lyons cellar and was re-corked in 1983. It actually snowed at Lafite-Rothschild on 1 May that year when the vines were already 15 days in advance, summer saw sporadic hail and harvest commenced on 13 September with berries at miraculously ripe levels. What a wine! Deeper in color than the 1949 Lafite-Rothschild, the 1945 has a haunting bouquet, with vestiges of red fruit mixed with graphite, cold stone, crushed rose petals and briary. It gently builds in the glass and with aeration becomes ever more vivid and delineated. The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannin, perfect acidity, pure and weightless, one of the most nuanced 1945s you will find. It is utterly sublime, never showing off and never trying too hard. It just shimmers with a pedigree that is undiminished after the passing decades. This might be one of the occasions where I prefer the Lafite-Rothschild to the more ostentatious 1945 Latour. Tasted at the Lafite-Rothschild dinner at Amuse Bouche in Hong Kong.

  • 98p
This has the lightest colour of the premier crus, now quite tawny. It has a delicate nose of dried roses and tea leaves. A lovely, sweet wine. Lingering finish. A wine that needs your attention. Very delicate and quite unique. Needs decanting and attention to really appreciate.
  • 92p
This bottle turned out to be slightly volatile and suffered from the oxidation. It was lacking the refined and complex layers that are normally found from Lafite 45. Despite that, it hit still 90 points from me. Lafite elegance is still there and I love it!
  • 90p
LAFITE ROTHSCHILD 1945 This is a vexing Lafite. At its best, a glorious wine, and on one occasion, a heady Latour vertical at the Beau Rivage (where it was served after the tasting with dinner), it rivaled the best Latours we had tasted and almost stole the show! On most occasions, it seems to have enormous bottle variation, and this wasn’t its best moment. The color was slightly cloudy, a light ruby red. An earthy, dusty, slightly drying out nose greeted us. Initially this was somewhat astringent on the palate, but again with the food, it made a slight rally. Caramel emerged, the fruit became more expressive, and the finish smoothed out, though still there was a distracting sharpness there. 89 Points
  • 89p
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Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Poor

Investment potential

Good

Fake factory

Serious

Glass time

1h

Inside Information

Château Lafite-Rothschild--Vintage 1945 
Pauillac, 1er cru classé
Levels: into neck; bin soiled labels, three wrinkled labels, Rebouché en 1991
"My most recent notes include a flawless magnum at the Eisengatz tasting in 1993 and an extraordinarily good magnum, despite its mid-shoulder level, at Christen Sveass' great dinner in Oslo. The cork was sound so the air in the ullage must have been benign. The wine had a beautiful colour; medium deep, with rich legs but not intense, unlike the flanking Margaux and La Mission, the colors of which seemed to press the sides of the glass. Just about every note over the years refers to a glorious fragrance which seems to unravel itself after 15 to 20 minutes in the glass. Also noticed at the Sveass dinner, and previously, its sweetness to which one adds, unoriginally, rich, soft with masked tannins. A glorious mouthful. Last noted April 1996 *****" MB, Vintage Wine

 

Wine Advocate #90
Dec 1993
Robert M. Parker, Jr. 81 Drink: N/A $1526-$4818
This is not the first uninspiring performance I have encountered from the 1945. The exceptionally light ruby/orange color is surprising given the opacity of most wines from this vintage. A sterile nose reveals vague, earthy, dusty, herb, tea, and cherry aromas. Lean, with frightfully high acidity, this wine is drying out. Out of balance, it will get more attenuated with cellaring.
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