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  • Country ranking ?

    361
  • Producer ranking ?

    13
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    from 2018
  • Food Pairing

    Lamb with aubergines

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

2005 was the fourth consecutive year to have a deficit in rainfall, but the drought began very early, at the end of May, which allowed the vine to adapt itself by reducing its leaves. The very hot weather in June and July gave way to progressively cooler weather in August and the cool nights allowed good acidity levels to be maintained, resulting in slow steady ripening. A year of atypical weather but in the end ideal for the production of healthy, very ripe grapes with wonderful freshness.

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Vintage 2005

Bordeaux Vintage Report 2005 is a truly fantastic vintage with great quality across the board on both the Left and Right Banks.

The 2005 vintage became the most expected since 2000. The en primeur market was heated, and prices skyrocketed. The cold winter delayed the bud break before the hot ans dunny spring broke up. Even vegetative growth and flowering gave a perfect start to the vintage. The summer turned out to be one of the driest ever which was avoiding disaster since the weather remained reasonably warm not excessively hot as in 2003. The soil is again becoming a decisive quality factor. Gravelly areas, such as Graves, were worst affected once more. In other words, top wines are to be expected.

For short term perspective, in the next couple of years, an excellent amount of mature red Bordeaux wines will be available in the market. The vintages 2004, 2002, 1999, 1994, 1992 and 1988 offer a wide selection of enjoyable wines to be consumed immediately or at most to be stored for a short period.

As investments, the best vintages from the past 35 years are 2003, 1996, 1989, 1986 and 1982. The most certain long-term investments are Latour, La Mission Haut-Brion, Haut-Brion, Le Pin and Pétrus.

In the last 35 years, Bordeaux has undergone a substantial change in winemaking. Modern equipment and developing know-how have guaranteed more even quality. It seems that the next challenge will be handling the extreme climates including slowly global warming, which has already given hints of its effects also in Bordeaux. It is impossible to say how the Bordeaux wines will change in the next 35 years. We can only hope that their most characteristic feature, elegant aristocratic nature highlighted by unique terroir, will never fade away.

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Average Bottle Price

2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
800€ +0.3% 798€ -2.9% 822€ +4.6% 786€ -10.6% 879€ -1.2% 890€ -30.6% 1 282€ -4.3% 1 340€

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

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Written Notes

Black velvety red, colour sticking to the glass, superb fragrance and intensity, concentrated ripeness, immense depth but overall an impression of fragrance and elegance, a perfect wine. Drink 2015-50.

  • 100p

Deep colour. An intense, delicate, subtle, complex nose. Very clean and direct palate on the attack, then developing volume and a nicely rounded structure. Immensely powerful, great length, density and elegance.

2005 was the fourth consecutive year to have a deficit in rainfall, but the drought began very early, at the end of May, which allowed the vines to adapt by reducing their leaf area. The very hot weather in June and July gave way to progressively cooler weather in August and the cool nights allowed good acidity levels to be maintained, resulting in slow steady ripening. A year of atypical weather but in the end ideal for the production of healthy, very ripe grapes with wonderful freshness.

The 2005 Lafite is a lighter-styled effort than I expected, but of course, this estate is renowned for its delicacy and finesse. After the world-beating, off-the-charts 2003, which is a modern-day clone of the 1959, the 2005 seems pretty and restrained, but very noble as one would expect. Remarkably, the alcohol is actually higher in 2005 than in 2003, topping out at 13+%. The final blend was 88.8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10.7% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot. Production represented only 40% of the harvest. The wine’s dark plum/ruby/purple color is followed by Lafite’s tell-tale aromas of lead pencil shavings intermixed with flowers, minerals, sweet berries, and black currants. Medium-bodied, quintessentially elegant and finesse-styled with high but ripe tannin, it is an impeccably pure, exceptionally well-made effort. Despite its obvious charm, my instincts suggest it will shut down after bottling. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2050+.

  • 95p
Tasted twice - last time in in May 2008. Dark red. This wine was immense. The first thing I noticed was a simply fantastic nose of perfectly ripe blackcurrants with incredibly aromatic fireworks. It showed an enormous power, length and aftertaste, and was silky everywhere. There was pure elegance and pure sophisticated touch too. True and majestic 1.Growth par excellence!!
  • 100p
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Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Poor

Investment potential

Very Good

Fake factory

Be Cautious

Glass time

2h

Drinking temperature

16

Inside Information

Wine Advocate #176
Apr 2008
Robert M. Parker, Jr. 96+ Drink: 2020 - 2050 $774-$2718 (1250)
While the 2005 is another brilliantly classic Lafite Rothschild, for my taste, it comes in slightly behind their extraordinarily opulent 2003 as well as the dramatically powerful 2000. A blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Merlot, the 2005 boasts a dark ruby/purple color in addition to that exceptional Lafite perfume of graphite, spring flowers, crushed rocks, and sweet black cherry and black currant fruit that exudes class and nobility. The wine is medium-bodied with extremely high levels of tannin in addition to sensational purity, length, and overall harmony. However, it is exceptionally backward, and even more tannic than either the 1995 or 1996. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2050+
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