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  • Country ranking ?

    1 032
  • Producer ranking ?

    53
  • Decanting time

    1h
  • When to drink

    Now
  • Food Pairing

    Beef

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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

Vintage 1985

The 1985 vintage signals recurrent success. The same weather conditions as in 1982, meaning continuing sun from July to September, produce similar results: grapes with thick skins, with condensed and supple tannins, and intense aromas. These grapes have produced complete and velvety wines, with complex bouquets; possibly even more elegant than the 1982 vintage. Ideal weather in the month of September made 1985 an exceptional vintage, recalling Médoc’s fabulous 1953 wines. Delicious even young, it can be enjoyed soon, while also benefiting from ageing



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Latest Pro-tasting notes

25 tasting notes

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Written Notes

classic in every sense real meat on its bones refined yet substantial a pleasure to drink w long life ahead 85=53 in general
  • 94p

The 1985 Lafite-Rothschild has long been one of my favorite wines from the vintage and certainly it is streets ahead of Latour. Beginning to show its age with modest bricking on the rim, the bouquet takes time to unfold in the glass, revealing scents of black fruit, briary, smoke and Italian delicatessen. The aromas are not powerful, but refined. That can also be said of the palate: beautifully balanced with a fine bead of acidity, it opens gently in the glass to reveal pretty cedar-infused red fruit, walnut and a hint of sandalwood. Perhaps in recent years it has lost some of its density but it does remain a delightful Lafite-Rothschild that is probably best enjoyed sooner rather than later. Tasted at Lafite-Rothschild.

  • 93p

The year of extremes: a very cold winter down to minus 15 °C (59 °F), from 8 to 16 January, violent storms with hail at the beginning of June, Saharan drought, heatwave in August and throughout the autumn. Harvest started at the beginning of October, with a temperature of nearly 30 °C (86 °F). Finally, an ideal harvest offering a vintage of great quality and surprisingly abundant.
Second in the trio of vintages served blind at the 150th anniversary celebration. Very impressive and absolutely at its peak. Juicy and mineral with a sweet, rich nose. Neat and well balanced with no excess of tannins. Really lively. Firm, salty and savoury. This is one of those Lafites that dances on the palate. Great balance. Bravo! Birth year of Eric's elder son and Saskia's elder brother (she is a 1987 baby).

  • 93p

Delicious in its youth, it can be enjoyed early but will age gracefully.

The 1985 vintage signals a return to excellent quality. The same weather conditions as in 1982, i.e. continuous sunshine from July to September, produced similar results: grapes with thick skins, with condensed, supple tannins and intense aromas. These grapes have produced full-bodied, velvety wines, with complex bouquets, possibly even more elegant than the 1982 vintage. Ideal weather in September made 1985 an exceptional vintage, even recalling the Médoc’s fabulous wines of 1953.

Ruby, garnet rim, some sediments. Leather, figs, tobacco, spices, earthy but a touch of floral notes far back, mature nose. Faint minty note. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, still structured, figs, leather, some cherries, tobacco, prunes, blueberries, leather, quite intense, long. 95

  • 95p
Lafite – powerful, deep and strong, lots of fruit and tannin, perfect balance and big meaty aftertaste. Not as distinguished as Mouton Rothschild, but who cares. Many years to go. 96p.
  • 96p
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Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Highlights

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