Chateau Lafite Rothschild is one of the most renowned properties in the Médoc. Owned by Baron Eric de Rothschild and located in the north of the Pauillac appellation, Lafite Rothschild is also one of the largest Médoc estates. It has 95 hectares of vineyards planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Merlot (20%) and Cabernet Franc (10%). Lafite Rothschild's vineyards lie on deep gravel beds (up to 5 metres thick) over marl and limestone. Annual production tops 35,000 cases, although a third of this consists of the second wine called Carruades de Lafite.
Of all the Médoc Grand Crus, Lafite Rothschild can be the most beguiling and difficult to understand. It is never the most powerful, yet, along with Margaux, possesses the most exquisite bouquet of any Médoc wine. It has the elegance, balance and harmony that epitomises claret at its very best.
Performs the trick of being immediately succulent and mouthwatering while simultaneously revving up and building power through the palate. You're getting sapidity and savoury black fruits that are both elegant and full of power. The spicy rosemary and black pepper, with slate-textured minerality, is almost unnoticeable until it closes in on the final stretch, helping to stretch things out, beat by beat, adding energy and lift. One half of the 5% Merlot in this blend is from plots that have never before been used in Lafite's 1st wine, because their drone and satellite research discovered three tiny areas that were similar in character and could be vinified together. They have worked on this for the past three years, successfully so for first time in 2019. It just holds on tight, with a creaminess that you don't always find in Lafite at this early stage. A brilliant wine, one that could be upscored from this when in bottle. Harvest September 19 to October 7. Drinking Window 2029 - 2048.
98 points, Jane Anson, Decanter, June 2020.
The 2019 Lafite Rothschild is a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, harvested from the 19th of September to the 7th of October. Deep garnet-purple in colour, it rolls effortlessly out of the glass with compelling notions of baked black cherries, ripe blackberries and crème de cassis followed by hints of mocha, liquorice, smoked meats and Sichuan pepper with a waft of eucalyptus. Medium-bodied, the palate is at once ethereally graceful and powerfully intense, featuring layer upon layer of profound smoky, savoury flavours and decadently ripe fruit, framed by exquisite, silt-like tannins and just enough freshness, finishing with epic length. In terms of flavour profile, this is a surprisingly (atypically) hedonic, forward expression, with notably lower acidity/higher pH (the pH is 3.9). The alcohol is 13.4%, just a tick higher than the 2018 (13.3%). And yet, the tannins here are unmistakably Lafite, featuring all the tannic grace, finesse and densely pixilated poise fans will expect. What an exciting paradox for the palate—bravo!
The Merlot in the 2019 grand vin is a “new wine” of Merlot for Lafite, according to technical director Eric Kohler. “Before, we only had three tanks of Merlot to choose from,” he explained. “Often, it was the same choice. Now, we have identified three plots of Merlot to co-vinify. The amounts were too little to be vinified separately, so they used to go into the blends. This makes a new Merlot lot for us. This year, this Merlot blend was just perfect for the grand vin. This addition of the new Merlot helped keep the balance.”
Regarding the 2019 vintage of Lafite’s very popular second wine: “This is the first time we used this much Cabernet Sauvignon in the Carruades blend,” Kohler told me. "Usually, it is more like 55% Cabernet with more Merlot. It is even more like Lafite this year!”
97-99 points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, June 2020.
Pauillac is Bordeaux’s most acclaimed appellation, the only one with three Premier Cru properties: Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Mouton-Rothschild and Château Latour. These and other Pauillac chateaux produce robust, full-flavored and long-lived red wines made from Cabernet-based blends. Though winemaking techniques and microclimates vary throughout Pauillac, producing some variations in style, classic Pauillac wines have juicy flavours of blackcurrant and cedar, often with coffee, chocolate and graphite notes. Pauillac, part of the Médoc region on Bordeaux’s Left Bank, has gravelly and well-drained soils that force vines to grow long and strong roots. Struggling a bit for water, the vines produce grapes with high tannins and concentrated juices. Nearby rivers and the Atlantic Ocean modulate temperatures, preventing the grapes from ripening too quickly. Such grapes make powerful wines that may age and improve for decades. However, in Pauillac, as in other old-world wine regions, some winemakers are working to develop softer red wines that maintain the local wines’ traditional substance and flavours, but are more approachable immediately upon release.