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  • Country ranking ?

    32
  • Producer ranking ?

    3
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    from 2025
  • Food Pairing

    roasted game with mushrooms

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 2018 Lafite Rothschild is blended of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot and has 13.3% alcohol. The Merlot was harvested September 17-24, the Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested September 25 to October 5, and the Cabernet Franc was harvested on September 24. It has a deep purple-black color and then WOW—what a nose. It comes sashaying out of the glass with bags of grace and perfume, revealing notions of lilacs, red roses, fragrant soil, cinnamon stick and Morello cherries with a core of blackcurrant cordial, fresh black plums, redcurrant jelly and tapenade plus a waft of iron ore. Medium-bodied, the palate has wonderful, tightly wound layers of black, red and blue fruits intermingled with floral, earth and mineral notions and a rock-solid frame of the most finely pixelated tannins you can possibly imagine. Anyone who wants to see what I mean when I babble about the Lafite tannins needs to try this benchmark. The finish goes on, and on, and on. If this wine doesn’t get Bordeaux lovers hearts' racing, nothing will.

Score: 98/100Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (April 2019), April 2019

 

(91 Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5 Merlot, 0.5 Petit Verdot) | 13.3% alc With a more exuberant stance, which is certainly less classic than 2016, this is a rather shockingly delicious and immediately appealing Lafite. There is some superb depth, amazing graphite notes and even some floral tones here, too. The volume of flavour and freshness is thanks to the gentle extraction. It was important to control everything humanly possible in this vintage and I think that the team here has managed to get a little extra out of their bunches. Controlling temperature and less pumping over meant than this is an extremely interesting wine. It remains a Lafite-shaped wine and the signature is still here, but it is out on a limb in terms of its flavour expression and I happen to like this a lot, as I favour more expressive wines over more reserved ones. Lafite suggested that is was their divine terroir which enabled them to retain the perfect balance which this wine shows and this is the critical reason for its success. Even the small addition of Merlot, planted in 1919 and 1967 played their part! While this is an unusually exciting Lafite on the palate, it is familiarly strict on the finish and so while I venture that this is an atypical creature in the greater scheme of things it will still cast a Lafite-shaped silhouette on your palate in years to come.

Score: 19.5+ Matthew Jukes, MatthewJukes.com, April 2019

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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

Quality seems to be back to the highest level under wine-maker Eric Kohler who took over in 2015. Eric believes that the 2018 here is in the category of the 2010 and 2016 with a touch of 2009 about it. The yield was 40 hl/ha and the blend is 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot with a pinch of Petit Verdot. Although it was of high quality, most of the estate's Merlot was relegated to the second wine - Carruades Lafite.

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Vintage 2018

2018 Bordeaux Vintage Report and recommendations

by Andrew Caillard MW

2018 is an exceptional year. The Bordeaux whites and sauternes are very good, but from an Australian perspective the excitement is all in the red wines. All sub regions produced examples of really good wines, but some performed better than others. Generally the very top estates made exemplary wines illustrating that the human factor and wealth can have a major impact on terroir! Over the last few weeks I have tasted around 350 to 400 wines, sometimes in large format forums like the UCG tastings or at various Chateaux. Nowadays it is difficult to taste the wines blind but density of colour, aromatic freshness, tannin density and overall balance are obvious indicators. In some instance I have tasted wines a few times enabling me to cross reference.

 

The weather until a few days ago has been clear with bright sunshine, warm days and a cool breeze. Temperatures have fallen now with more cloud cover and intermittent rains. While driving from Sauternes to St Emilion we drove through light hail but not enough to cause too many problems. In two weeks we have seen dormant vineyards and trees spring to life. The growing season is starting a touch early and of course people are worried about the chances of frost. After the devastating frost events of 2017 and the challenges created by hail and mildew during 2018, there is a feeling that climate change may well have an unpredictable impact on future  Bordeaux vintages.

 

 We have pretty tasted a good amount of primeurs wines now. As usual the vintage will be exaggerated. The growing season was near calamitous but long warm sunshine hours over summer cleaned everything up and allowed the grapes to ripen very really well. The colours, flavours, density and acidities are really impressive and as a consequence the vintage is generally quite exceptional. It is difficult to truly understand the overall crop losses as producers are understandably quite cagey. But they vary from almost nothing to less than a third. At Ch Climens in Sauternes Barsac I would estimate the crop being around 20% of the average. When one considers that this estate lost its whole crop in 2017 from frost, the shock must be keenly felt. Mother Nature has been particularly cruel of late. The narrative of the growing season will inevitably create a negative impression, but few people will remember the details in years to come. They will only remember the wine. For some people with long memories they believe the vintage is like 1947 or 1961. If this is the case, this is not just an exceptional vintage, this is something beyond the norm. An immortal year. The concentration, weight, and vitality of the wines are impressive. Despite the amazing tannin density, saturated colours and flavours, the wines are actually quite easy to taste, indicating remarkable balance and life.

 

In my opinion the strongest sub regions are Pauillac and St Julien – which have both produced wines of great consistency and classicism. They are powerfully expressive with pronounced ripe tannins and pure fruit flavours. The combination of better micro-climatic conditions, wealth and physical resources helped with the result. Ch Pontet Canet is an outlier because of its approach to biodynamic viticulture. It suffered terribly from mildew and has produced only a third of the crop. The wine is markedly different from wines like Ch Latour or Ch Pichon Lalande, but its overall buoyancy and richness of fruit is compelling. It also stands for something that is worthwhile and important. 

 

I always think of Pauilac as being the reference for Bordeaux. Typically the wines are extremely expressive with pure cassis cedar aromas and fine grainy tannins. This year the wines are particularly dense and inky with plentiful graphite tannins. They are not at all sinewy or soupy and hence when the tannins settle down the wines will be exceptional.

There are many outstanding wines from Pauillac including Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Ch Pichon Longueville Baron, Ch Lynch Bages, Ch Batailley, Ch d’Armailhac and Ch Grand Puy Lacoste. The first growths Ch Latour, Ch Mouton Rothschild and Ch Lafite Rothschild are very impressive. Their second wines Les Forts de Latour, Petit Mouton and Carruades are also of very high quality.

 

Neighbouring St Julien has also performed very well. Ch Ducru Beaucaillou and Ch Leoville Lascases probably lead the pack but Ch Leoville Barton, Ch Leoville Poyferré, Ch Gruaud Larose, Ch Talbot and Close de Marquis are all exceptionally well made wines

 

St Estephe is variable. Some estates controlled the volume and consistency of tannin very well and made classical wines. These include Cos d’Estournel, Ch Montrose, Ch TronquoyLalande, Ch Phelan Segur and Ch Canon Segur. Other examples were in my opinion excessively brutish in structure. For those willing to keep the wines for a decade or two, many of them will eventually come

around.

Margaux is also variable and does not always have the density of fruit to go with the tannins. Yet one of my favourite wines of the vintage is Ch Palmer which is magical. In fact I think it is the wine of the vintage. Ch Prieuré Lichine, Brane Cantenac, Giscours and Marquis de Terme were all good. Ch Margaux and Pavillon Rouge were of course well above the average. 

 

Subregions Moulis, Listrac and Haut Medoc wines are all over the place yet there are some genuine highlights including Esmond de Rothschild’s Ch Clarke, Ch Cantemerle and Ch Beaumont. 

 

Graves and Pessac Leognan have produced wines of varying quality yet again the very top Chateaux including Ch HautBailly, Ch La Mission Haut Brion and Ch Haut Brion have made impressive grand vins. Ch Smith Haut Lafitte has really moved up the hustings and has made a really good wine this year. 

 

St Emilion is a fascinating tapestry of colour and movement this year making some truly outstanding wines. Ch Cheval Blanc, Ch Ausone, Ch Belair Monange, Ch Fourtet, Ch Figeac, Ch Canon and Ch Pavie have all produced wines of richness and impact. I also enjoyed Ch La Dominique and the Burgundian-like Tertre Roteboeuf. But there is more inconsistency on the flats and fringes of the region. However as is often the case the value can be found best with lesser names who have prevailed well. This includes a few wines in the nearby Cotes de Castillon which may represent good value.

 

Pomerol is more consistent than St Emilion but there is also some variability. Ch Petrus, Vieux Chateau Certan, Ch Certande May, Ch Latour a Pomerol, Ch Gazin, Lafleur, Lafleur Petrus and Ch Trotanoy made really terrific wine but there were some instances where the wines were lighter in weight and probably less appealing. On reflection I think Pomerol vies for line honours. The wines are amazingly impressive with beautiful polish, suppleness and concentration. There are many instances where second wines have performed 

2018 is not a very great Sauternes Barsac year and the quality is dependent on the producer and how much of the crop was picked before the rain and humidity finally arrived to promote botrytis in the vineyards. My clear favourite is Ch Climens. Although I always see it in parts, the end result promises to be outstanding.  Rieussec, de Fargues and Lafaurie Peyragueyare are standouts.

 

As you will see from my tasting notes there are many great wines. This year it is going to be very hard to make a bad decision. Although the big names have made impressive wines there are stacks of lesser known or lower profile estates that have made promising young wines. Over the next year they will continue to evolve and mature in barrel, building more complexity and allowing the tannins to settle down. 

As regards whether it is a great vintage, I think it is safe to say that it is a remarkable year with many very great wines made. In some ways it is a miracle year considering the challenges and disappointments of the growing season. Most observers will agree that the 2018 vintage, specifically the red wines, is in the same league as the greatest vintages including 2015, 2010 and 2009 etc. Some winemakers are also suggesting its very similar to 1947 or 1961. 

But 2018 is also an atypical year – whatever that means these days. The weather patterns are more difficult to predict and no one can really second guess what God plans for this forthcoming season. Thankfully the predicted cold snap last night did not damage the emerging new growth. But the unseasonable warm start to the growing season and clear skies has everyone on edge

 

Andrew Caillard, MW

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

15 tasting notes

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Written Notes

What will unquestionably be another magical wine from Eric Kohler and his team, the 2018 Château Lafite checks in as 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot, and just a splash of Petit Verdot. It's a classic Lafite that offers a deep purple/ruby color and beautiful notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil shavings, tobacco, cedar, and graphite. Flawlessly balanced, full-bodied, and seamless, it's a wine that builds incrementally on the palate, offering incredible finesse, ripe, present tannins, and a great finish. It reminds me of a more elegant version of the 2016 and should be approachable with just 5-6 years of cellaring and keep just about forever. Barrel Sample: 96-98.

  • 98p

It will take its place after the 1959 in the legend, with more intensity at birth, more precision, a larger scale of flavours and a finesse in the tannins’ integration than all the beautiful past vintages. Great wine, worthy of its pedigree.

  • 98p

Ruby. Tight, dark fruity, blackberries, liquorice and spices, denser. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruity, spices, liquorice, layered, detailed, intense and dense. A richer Lafite, powerful, or rather denser. Alcohol on the very low side this year at 13,3. 96-98

  • 97p

Deep colour. Intense dark cherry cassis aronaswiry cedar notes. Very concentrated wine with deep set blackcurrant blackberry flavours, plentiful cedar tannins and marked long acidity. Very precise wine with linear structure and pure fruit expression, but surprisingly restrained for Lafite. Maybe a root day.

  • 96p

The wine is perfumed with new wood and sweet fruits, delicious black currant flavors giving both ripeness and freshness. The wine has weight and impressive density.

  • 98p

Excellent fruit. Big and refined tannins are the hallmark of yet another great Lafite. The fruit seems to overpower the tannins somewhat in this stage but the barrel aging should fill those tannins in to bring the fruit and the tannins in a perfect balance. Nut as so often, Lafite manages this skill to perfection. A sure bet!

  • 99p

Dark purple red colour with violet hue and black core. A great nose with multi-layered character, fragrant fruit, discreet spiciness, discreet roasting aroma, wonderful balance. On the palate opulent character yet very elegant with great freshness, multi-layered with excellent depth and length, sweet tannins and lush fruit, elegant spiciness. An impressing wine with great tension and superb potential 

  • 99p
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Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Inside Information

This is silky and delicious and juicy, not something you can often say about a Lafite En Primeur sample but before you even get close to tasting the wine you can feel the layers building.

It has the precision, the freshness and the sense of effortless elegance that Lafite always conveys with lots of power and depth, deep black fruits on the nose and a mix of spices from rosemary to saffron on the palate.

Is it better than the 2016? It’s hard to say at this stage but it certainly feels its equal, although differently constructed and unlikely to take as long to come around - think 10 rather than 14 years before reaching its drinking window.

It's worth adding that very few wines have been so unmarked by the extremes of the vintage, or as technical director Eric Kohler puts it; 'Even after 25 years of working at Lafite I continue to be full of admiration for this terroir. Other plots that we own reacted to the heat at times, but Lafite just kept sailing on as usual'.

The harvest took place between 17 September and 5 October, with a yield of 40hl/ha. 40% of the production went into the grand vin. 3.75pH which is classic for them. 74IPT.

Score: 98/100 Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2019
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BWW-The Best Wine of the World-competition is by far the toughest wine competition on this planet. Unlike any other industry competition, only 1% of the wines involved will be awarded. 

BWW is also the largest wine competition: The BWW competition 2019 was held in the world's largest wine information service - tastingbook.com. 18,477 wines received in total 2,354,989 votes from 416,000 wine professionals and wine lovers from 116 countries during the three months voting period.

Lafite-Rothschild 2018,
Château Lafite-Rothschild

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BWW 2020 Competition

VOTE NOW FOR YOUR FAVOURITE WINES FOR THE BEST WINE OF THE WORLD -TITLE

 

BWW- The Best Wine of the World 2020 -competition

"We believed the opinion of 10,000 consumers or 1,000 professionals to be more correct and more significant than a small group of wine professionals.”

 

BWW-The Best Wine of the World-competition is by far the toughest wine competition on this planet. Unlike any other industry competition, only 1% of the wines involved will be awarded. 

BWW is also the largest wine competition: The BWW competition 2019 was held in the world's largest wine information service - tastingbook.com. 18,477 wines received in total 2,354,989 votes from 416,000 wine professionals and wine lovers from 116 countries during the three months voting period.