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  • Country ranking ?

    721
  • Producer ranking ?

    20
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese

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

Vintage 1986
At the dawn of the 1986 harvests, after half a decade of success, the winemakers and wine enthusiasts were skeptical of yet another fine vintage. Yet a fine vintage it was: excellent weather in spring followed by a dry summer with light rains, all led to a very abundant and high-quality yield. The wines are onyx in colour, and are very concentrated without being heavy, and have distinguished dominant tannins. This wine has many characteristics in common with the sequence of vintages from 1945 to 1949. It is a fine wine to be aged, thanks to its structure and will benefit from a long ageing.

Château Lafite Rothschild
At the dawn of the 1986 harvests, after half a decade of success, the winemakers and wine enthusiasts were skeptical of yet another fine vintage. Yet a fine vintage it was: excellent weather in spring followed by a dry summer with light rains, all led to a very abundant and high-quality yield. The wines are onyx in colour, and are very concentrated without being heavy, and have distinguished dominant tannins. This wine has many characteristics in common with the sequence of vintages from 1945 to 1949. It is a fine wine to be aged, thanks to its structure and will benefit from a long ageing.


 

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Average Bottle Price

2020 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2005 1995
1 090€ +10.5% 986€ +10.2% 895€ +4.8% 854€ -7.3% 921€ -3.4% 953€ +7.1% 890€ -40.1% 1 485€ +2.3% 1 451€ +632.8% 198€ +102.0% 98€

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

26 tasting notes

Tasting note

ending

Long and Flavorful

flavors

Voluptuous, Coffee, Tar, Plum and Cedar

nose

Intense and Complex

recommend

Yes

taste

Balanced, Complex, Firm, Harmonious and Rich

Written Notes

Deep, dark violet colour. Pronounced nose with tremendous depth and complexity. Black currants, blackberries, cedar, black olives, dark chocolate, liquorice, and cigar with hints of violets. Very concentrated medium-bodied palate with great volume. Very firm super smooth tannins, vivid acidity and deliciously ripe elegant fruitiness of cassis and blackberries. Toasty and spicy oakiness with complex range of flavours supports discreetly the fruit. The wine seems to have an almost never-ending finish. Although the wine offers all this now, it will certainly offer double pleasure after a decade or two or even three. If you have only a bottle or two of this, it is worth waiting patiently.

  • 96p

The 1986 Lafite-Rothschild is a great wine although over several recent encounters it is never a convincing "perfect" wine. This mirrors the bottle I tasted at the property in 2016: blackberry and graphite on the nose, gawky at first, but coalescing with time. The palate is well balanced with firm tannins, strong graphite scents unfolding with time, superb energy if not delivering quite the finesse and precision that the very best Lafite-Rothschild will bestow. This is a wine that benefits from long decanting, say five or six hours, though it never quite reaches the ethereal heights that it could have done. Tasted at the International Business & Wine First Growth Dinner at the Four Seasons.

  • 96p

This wine offers a surprising blend of many of the characteristics of the vintages from 1945 to 1949. It is a fine wine for laying down, that should age well  due to its exceptional structure.

At the dawn of the 1986 harvests, after half a decade of success, the winemakers and wine enthusiasts were sceptical of yet another fine vintage. Yet a fine vintage it was: excellent spring weather followed by a dry summer with occasional light rain, led to a very abundant, high-quality yield. The wines are almost black in colour, very concentrated without being heavy, with distinguished, dominant tannins.

Ruby with garnet rim, A level fill. Closed, some coffee, very youthful, sweet tobacco, flirts the hell out of you, who can say only Burgundies seduce! Hints of cigars, blackcurrants, prunes underneath, pure, floral, great and playful acidity, tannins grips the tongue, playing with it, marvelous structure, fantastic length and such complexity, ever increasing, decanted for at least four hours, and even so needed a couple of hours to really settle in the glass. Will last another 20 years easily. 100

  • 100p

This is a marvelous showcase for Lafite. Cherries, truffles, currants, mint, all blending beautifully on the bouquet. This is a heftier Lafite, responding to the vagaries of the vintage, it opens on the palate with blackberry, cloves and some graphite. You get some ginger, nuts, sweet caramel almost at and past the mid palate. You have filigree tannins and pitch perfect acidity here. Cassis and cherries emerge for the finish, generous, graceful, pure, lavish and lacy at the same time. Let it just add a notch or two more of complexity. Already the gorgeous texture, balance and well-integrated fruit, are more than beginning to dazzle. 96-97 Points

  • 97p
The next flight was no less interesting but a touch more restrained. All the bottles in this flight were opened at 6:45 to be served at 9:15. We had 2 Pauillac and 2 from Pessac-Léognan. Chateau Lafite clearly showed its pedigree but needed to be decanted. It was still somewhat closed when it was served and the wine in my glass which I nursed till 11 PM started to show layers and complexity only towards the end. It's best to wait another 5 years before approaching it again.
  • 98p
8 Great Bordeaux 1.Flight Latour 1990 MG vs Lynch Bages 1989 MG 2 Flight La Mission Haut Brion 1989 vs Haut Brion 1989 3.Flight Mouton 1982 vs Latour 1982 MG 4 Flight Mouton 1986 vs Lafite 1986 the "weakest" wine in this great 8 Bx tasting, great acidity structure, a lot of cassis and dark berries , tannins still mighty, the finish is a little bit shorter than the others, a hint riper than 4 weeks ago. 97+
  • 97p
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Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Value For Money

Satisfactory

Investment potential

Excellent

Fake factory

Serious

Glass time

2h

Inside Information

As one of the original four First Growth Bordeaux designated by the historic 1855 Bordeaux classification, Château Lafite-Rothschild is one of the world’s most prestigious wines. One of the château's earliest and most celebrated fans was King Louis XV, who reportedly preferred Lafite-Rothschild above all other wines. Purchased in 1868 by Baron James de Rothschild, the estate has remained in the hands of the Rothschild family ever since. The term “lafite” apparently is derived from “la hite,” or little hill in one of the regional dialects used in France in the Middle Ages. The domaines Baron de Rothschild also include Château Rieussec, Château L’Evangile, Château Duhart-Milon, and others in France and Argentina. Château Lafite-Rothschild includes 247.1 acres of vineyards planted in 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. The average age of the vines is 40 years. Annual production is 18,000 to 25,000 cases of Château Lafite-Rothschild.

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