x
  • Country ranking ?

    59
  • Producer ranking ?

    5
  • Decanting time

    6h
  • When to drink

    from 2025
  • 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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Lafite Sets Auction Wine Record at $230,000 a Bottle

Three bottles of Chateau Lafite’s 1869 vintage each sold for a record price of HK$1.8 million ($230,000) at a sale in Hong Kong last night, underlining Asia’s dominance of the auction market for trophy label wines.

All three were bought by the same Asian telephone bidder, said Sotheby’s, which offered almost 2,000 bottles of Lafite shipped directly from the cellars of the chateau in Pauillac, near Bordeaux. The 1869s -- the oldest bottles in a range of vintages that spanned 139 years -- were each estimated to sell for between HK$40,000 and HK$60,000, said Sotheby’s.

Lafite had also held the previous auction record for a single bottle of wine. Malcolm Forbes, the U.S. publisher, paid 105,000 pounds ($168,000) for a 1787 vintage engraved with the initials of President Thomas Jefferson at Christie’s International in London in 1985.

“This was a perfect storm,” Serena Sutcliffe, Sotheby’s international head of wine, said in a telephone interview after the sale. “Lafite is Bordeaux’s most starry name, the provenance gave buyers extra confidence and the timing was right.”

The auction raised HK$65.5 million with fees, against a high estimate of HK$19.5 million at hammer prices. Every one of the 284 lots found buyers.

Source: Sotheby's 

Bottles of 1869 vintage Lafite sold for a record $HK 1.8 million each at Sotheby's Oct.

All eight of the wine sales Sotheby’s has held in Hong Kong this year achieved 100 percent selling rates, the New York-based company said. As the Asian buyer had acquired three bottles of Lafite 1869, there was a likelihood that at least one of them may be opened and drunk, dealers said.

Wines produced before the phylloxera epidemic devastated France’s vineyards in the 1870s rarely appear on the market, Sutcliffe said.

“There will be a huge curiosity to try a great pre- phylloxera vintage,” Sutcliffe said. “There’s a lot of speculation about why the Chinese like Lafite so much. People say it’s because the name is easy to pronounce in Mandarin. Actually, they like the taste, otherwise they wouldn’t pay such high prices for these wines.”

All 10 of the auction’s most expensive lots fell to Asian private collectors. A single bottle of Lafite 1870 sold for HK$1.3 million, and a 12-bottle case of the chateau’s 1982 vintage for HK$1 million, against low estimates of HK$80,000 and HK$280,000 respectively.

Lafite came top of the first official quality-based classification of Medoc wines in 1855. The chateau was bought by Baron James de Rothschild in 1868, and bottles have since been labeled Lafite-Rothschild.

By Scott Reyburn  Oct 29, 2010 

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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

2010/ Cabernet Sauvignon 87 %, Merlot 13 %
The vineyard cycle began with a cold, relatively wet winter, resulting in a slightly later bud-break than in 2009, in mid-April. Growth was then boosted by dry, sunny weather in April. May and June were characterized by alternating periods of rain and sunshine. June began with a cold spell that complicated the flowering of the Merlot, resulting in flower abortion and uneven grape size.

Fortunately, July was very dry (less than 20 mm of rain) with relatively high temperatures, which helped the vines to catch up from the delays caused during flowering. August and September were very dry, with beautiful daytime temperatures and cool nights creating ideal conditions for the grapes to slowly reach optimum ripeness.

 

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Vintage 2010

Drought and cool temperatures contribute to optimal ripeness

The sum of summer temperatures in 2010 was close to that of summer 2009 (962°C compared to 982°C), but decidedly chillier than those of 2005, which totalled 1052°C. These cool temperatures had a substantial influence on the balance of our wines, preserving a good level of acidity and attractive aromatic freshness. 

Very little rainfall (only 267 mm) from March to August 2010 generating a drought of similar intensity to that of 2005, when only 227mm of rain fell. 

Another feature of the 2010 vintage is the low temperatures above all in the first three weeks of August, which made for the preservation of good levels of acidity in the grapes while also maintaining attractive aromatic freshness.

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Average Bottle Price

2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
802€ +12.8% 711€ +2.3% 695€ -11.5% 785€ +13.9% 689€ -27.9% 956€

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

30 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep, Ruby red and Healthy

ending

Long, Round and Extensive

nose

Youthful, Pure, Opulent and Ripe

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Good texture, Perfectly balanced, Balanced, Youthful, Rich, Ripe, Full, Dry and Silky tannins

Verdict

Transparent and Exotic

Written Notes

The 2010 Lafite-Rothschild is a beautiful Pauillac in the making. It has a very well-defined bouquet that exhibits more red than black fruit, laced with cedar, damp undergrowth and pressed flowers. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly grainy tannins, conveying a sense of symmetry and focus that is second to none. Yet I feel that there ought to be greater substance and grip towards the second half. I miss the fullness shown by the 2009 Lafite-Rothschild that is shown alongside it. There is a pleasant sharpness and clarity to this decidedly masculine Lafite. I suspect it will continue to improve in bottle, if never taking the accolade of "best in show" for this auspicious growing season. Tasted at the Lafite-Rothschild 150th anniversary dinner at the estate.

  • 95p

Fabulous nose of wild violets, wonderful lissom texture backed by aristocratic firmness, a totally captivating wine for the long term. Drink 2020-50

  • 100p

Deep ruby, floral, cassis, complex and refines, very difficult to analyze, that feeling of some real greatness just teasing you out there in the back. Beautiful texture, elegant and ripe tannins, pure, long, for the long haul, will need thirty years in the cellar to start to show it's full potential. 96-99, probably a legend in the making.

 

  • 97p

Fine, concentrated colour. Solid and dense in the mouth, presenting good structure and well-defined tannins. A long, lingering palate with notes of violets on the finish. The 2010 is an elegant wine with excellent balance.

The vineyard cycle began with a cold, relatively wet winter, resulting in a slightly later bud break than in 2009, in mid-April. Growth was then boosted by dry, sunny weather for the rest of the month. May and June were characterized by alternating periods of rain and sunshine. June began with a cold spell that complicated the flowering of the Merlot, resulting in flower abortion and uneven grape size.
Fortunately, July was very dry (less than 20 mm of rain) with relatively high temperatures, which helped the vines to catch up from the delayed flowering. August and September were very dry, with beautiful daytime temperatures and cool nights creating ideal conditions for the grapes to slowly reach optimal ripeness.

Intense hue. Profound, focused nose of ripe red fruit with delicate oak. Emphasis is on concentration on the palate. Tannic, massive and well-balanced. A broad-shouldered Pauillac. A good level of acidity ensures huge ageing potential.

  • 97p

Deep ruby in colour, the Lafite has wonderful aromatics, with a gorgeous perfume of violets, cedar, cassis and blackberries. With its velvety tannins and layered, delicate flavours, there is a succulent juicy character to its fruit profile, accented with hints of violet. It is a gorgeous wine that is filled with delicate layers of flavours and at the same time is not heavy or dense. This is clearly a very successful vintage for Lafite in both style and intensity, producing a wine that will outlive the outstanding 2009.

  • 100p
Lafite Rothschild 2010 (barrel sample) 97-99p Tasted in April 2011. This wine was strong and powerful, extremely tannic and concentrated, long and with iron rock structure and mega long aftertaste. One of the best wines of the vintage.
  • 98p
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Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Very good

Release state price

600€

Investment potential

Excellent

Fake factory

None

Glass time

2h

Drinking temperature

17

Inside Information

Parker 98 points The 2010 Lafite Rothschild, a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Merlot (a 3% difference from the barrel sample shown two years ago), achieved relatively high alcohol of 13.32%, according to administrator Charles Chevalier. The wine is very impressive, not as fleshy, flamboyant and massive as the 2009, but nevertheless, a big, rich, full-throttle Lafite-Rothschild meant to age a half century or more. Deep purple, with notes of white chocolate, mocha, cedar and charcoal as well as hints of vanillin and creme de cassis, the wine is full-bodied yet has that ethereal lightness that makes it a Lafite. Rich, with good acidity, precision and freshness, this is a slightly zestier version of the 2009 as well as more restrained and structured than that particular vintage. It will need at least 10-12 years of cellaring and keep for 50+ years.

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