x
  • Country ranking ?

    263
  • Producer ranking ?

    10
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    Grilled Flank Steak with Parsley Sauce

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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98 Points Robert Parker
A blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Merlot, this wine represents only 34% of Lafite's total harvest. In a less than perfect Medoc vintage, it has been spectacular since birth, putting on more weight and flesh over the last year. This opaque purple-colored 1998 is close to perfection. The spectacular nose of lead pencil, smoky, mineral, and black currant fruit soars majestically from the glass. The wine is elegant yet profoundly rich, revealing the essence of Lafite's character. The tannin is sweet, and the wine is spectacularly layered yet never heavy. The finish is sweet, super-rich, yet impeccably balanced and long (50+ seconds). Anticipated maturity: 2007-2035.  

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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

We were concerned that the rainy harvest might dash our high hopes founded with the early blossoming, dry spring and scorching August. That turned out not to be the case. There was no rainfall until the harvest had already begun. The grapes were thus moistened but not penetrated, so maybe we can consider that divine intervention.

Once the first tanks had been worked, analyzed, and tasted, weary expressions changed to satisfied smiles. This vintage reflects the strength of our soil, with its deep colour and woody, fruity, and spicy palate. The “98’ may be preserved for a very long time, and is rich and full with a silky and long finish.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

14 tasting notes

Tasting note

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Written Notes

The 1998 Lafite-Rothschild is served from double magnum directly from the château reserves, in fact with the man who made it sitting opposite me – Charles Chevalier. I must admit to being quite amazed how well this shows at 20-years of age, trouncing all the other First Growths except Haut-Brion. Lucid in colour, it has a vivid bouquet of pure blackberry, blueberry, vanilla and graphite, perhaps just a little uncharacteristically showy in style, but beautifully defined and intense. The palate is perfectly balanced with layers of ripe black fruit, perfectly pitched acidity and a silky smooth texture that renders this utterly seductive. It is almost too good for me to recommend cellaring longer. Whatever...it is a sublime Lafite-Rothschild that on this showing, may well challenge the supremacy of the 1996. Tasted at the Académie du Vin dinner in Bordeaux.

  • 96p

Once the first vats had been prepared, analysed, and tasted, weary expressions changed to satisfied smiles. This vintage reflects the strength of our terroir, with its dark, deep colour and a woody, fruity, spicy attack. The 98 may be kept for a long time; a rich, full-bodied wine with a very long, silky finish.

We were concerned that a rainy harvest might dash our high hopes founded on the early bud break, uniform flowering, dry spring and scorching August. But very fortunately there was no rain until the harvests had already begun. The grapes were moistened but not harmed, in what was perhaps a case of divine intervention.

Magnum directly from chateau cellar. Ruby. Scented, fruity, red berries, floral, nuanced, detailed, elegant, cassis, some figs, leather, superb nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, fruity, sweet notes, figs, dates, minerals, touch of cherry stones, savory, long. 96

  • 96p
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Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Above Average

Value For Money

Unsatisfactory

Investment potential

Average

Fake factory

There is a possibility

Glass time

2h

Highlights

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98 Points Robert Parker A blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Merlot, this wine represents only more ...

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