x
  • Country ranking ?

    1 405
  • Producer ranking ?

    25
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    from 2018
  • Food Pairing

    Potatoes Mashed with Turnips and Celery Root

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

The growing season was closely monitored, coming after a severe winter and some spring frost. Flowering was not very productive, constant humidity favoured disease and the summer was moderately warm. Fortunately, September was fine and so it was possible to wait for the grapes to fully ripen, with late harvests.

 


 

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Average Bottle Price

2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
610€ -12.7% 699€ -20.2% 876€ -28.9% 1 232€ -22.5% 1 590€

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

15 tasting notes

Tasting note

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Written Notes

(Cabernet Sauvingon 83%, Merlot 13%, Cabernet Franc 4%.) Purple-black-red, really fine controlled fragrance and purity of blackcurrant fruit on the nose, already textured and layered, still firm on the palate, great depth of fruit, doesn't show the typical Lafite charm, but has both power and breed in perfect harmony, will develop slowly and brilliantly. Drink 2018-40.

  • 96p

Dominated by red fruit, the nose remains clear, precise and complex.
In the mouth, the strength and classic style of this wine become apparent. There is fruit, substance, and tannins that are both supple and closely-textured.

The growing season was closely monitored, coming after a severe winter and some spring frost. Flowering was not very productive, constant humidity favoured disease and the summer was moderately warm. Fortunately, September was fine and so it was possible to wait for the grapes to fully ripen, with late harvests

Very closed and difficult now. Ever so slightly scented, cassis, floral, some tobacco and cedar. Tender at the moment. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, superb and velvety texture with a lovely acidity nerve going through and carrying it. Very refreshing, layered and elegant. Very long. 96

 

  • 96p

A majestic wine with flavours that are not expressive now. Tightly wound with firm tannins, this wine tastes no more than 7-8 years old. Approachable after an hour in the glass, but best in 5-7 years time.

  • 94p

The 2008 Lafite Rothschild is one of the most profound young wines I have ever tasted. From a taster's perspective, it is reminiscent of a blend of the 1996 and 2003, but when you compare those vintages analytically, that makes no sense whatsoever. Representing only 40% of the production, this blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc boasts an opaque ruby/purple color (one of the darkest Lafites I have seen in 30 years) as well as an extraordinary, blockbuster aromatic profile of lead pencil shavings, forest floor, black fruits, licorice, and a hint of unsmoked, high-class cigar tobacco. In the mouth, a massive richness is accompanied by a freshness, delineation, nuance, delicacy, and mind-boggling density. Even after three decades of tasting, I am still astonished when tasting such a prodigious wine as this. Full, inky, and rich with creme de cassis and spice box characteristics as well as a length that I stopped measuring after a minute, the wine reveals a sweetness to the tannin and an opulence to the fruit that suggests a hot, sunny vintage, but again, that was not the case. There wasn't a great deal of heat, but there was more sunshine than the negative press reported at the beginning of September. This is a great, great wine. The harvest at Lafite took place between October 1-7 for the Merlot grapes, the Cabernet Franc was picked in mid-October, and the Cabernet Sauvignon between October 7-14 - an unbelievably late harvest for this estate. This wine should evolve for 30-40 years and last 50 or more. As I have indicated before, Lafite's second wine is now one of Bordeaux's finest second wines, and is made very much in the Lafite style. Interestingly, Lafite Rothschild's manager, Charles Chevalier, told me there was not much flavor in the grapes in mid-September, but a month later, after four weeks of extraordinary weather, they believed something profound may have happened given the flavor development. Again, the historically long period between flowering and harvest, and very low yields are part of the secret to the great success of wines such as this.

  • 98p

Very dark, not quite as dark as the Duhart, really complex nose and a sweet intensity, not as irony as usual, good freshness, the palate is powerful, very well endowed, juicy acidity, oaky finish, the tannins are a little spiky, but the size and overall balance remains. Will challenge the super 2006

  • 95p
Lafite Rothschild 2008 (barrel sample) 95-96p Tasted in March 2009. Quite backward and tannic but extremely promising, Excellent concentration and length. Needs time to reveal its secrets.
  • 95p
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Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Above Average

Value For Money

Good

Release state price

130

Investment potential

Excellent

Glass time

3h

Drinking temperature

18

Inside Information

The 2008 Lafite Rothschild is one of the most profound young wines I have ever tasted. From a taster's perspective, it is reminiscent of a blend of the 1996 and 2003, but when you compare those vintages analytically, that makes no sense whatsoever. Representing only 40% of the production, this blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc boasts an opaque ruby/purple color (one of the darkest Lafites I have seen in 30 years) as well as an extraordinary, blockbuster aromatic profile of lead pencil shavings, forest floor, black fruits, licorice, and a hint of unsmoked, high-class cigar tobacco. In the mouth, a massive richness is accompanied by a freshness, delineation, nuance, delicacy, and mind-boggling density. Even after three decades of tasting, I am still astonished when tasting such a prodigious wine as this. Full, inky, and rich with creme de cassis and spice box characteristics as well as a length that I stopped measuring after a minute, the wine reveals a sweetness to the tannin and an opulence to the fruit that suggests a hot, sunny vintage, but again, that was not the case. There wasn't a great deal of heat, but there was more sunshine than the negative press reported at the beginning of September. This is a great, great wine. The harvest at Lafite took place between October 1-7 for the Merlot grapes, the Cabernet Franc was picked in mid-October, and the Cabernet Sauvignon between October 7-14 - an unbelievably late harvest for this estate. This wine should evolve for 30-40 years and last 50 or more. As I have indicated before, Lafite's second wine is now one of Bordeaux's finest second wines, and is made very much in the Lafite style. Interestingly, Lafite Rothschild's manager, Charles Chevalier, told me there was not much flavor in the grapes in mid-September, but a month later, after four weeks of extraordinary weather, they believed something profound may have happened given the flavor development. Again, the historically long period between flowering and harvest, and very low yields are part of the secret to the great success of wines such as this.

Score: 98/100Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (182), April 2009

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