Château Lafite Rothschild

Premier Cru Classé, Pauillac

“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

In 1815, Guillaume Lawton said of Château Lafite, “I consider it to be the the most elegant and delicate, with the finest substance of the three (Premier Crus). The location of its vines is one of the finest in the Médoc”. In 1855 the Château was ranked as a Premier Grand Cru in the famous classification that was prepared for the Universal Exhibition of that year.

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Château Lafite Rothschild Premier Cru Classé, Pauillac
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Vintages

  • Vintage 2011

    • 80% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 20% Merlot

    The weather conditions for the 2011 vintage were unusual and required all of our technical teams’ vigilance and expertise.
    This was a very early vintage, with an exceptionally hot spring, low rainfall at the beginning of the year, but then more in the summer, and a persistent threat of powdery mildew (a vine disease that is usually quite rare in the Bordeaux region). Finally, just as we were getting ready to harvest, a huge hail storm in the north of Pauillac and Saint Estèphe on 1 September obliged us to reorganize the picking schedule. The plots that had been affected had to be picked first; fortunately, as a result of the conditions, the grapes had ripened early, and quality was not compromised.

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    Intense, deep crimson colour.
    Dense nose, aromas of red and black fruit, boxwood and spicy notes.
    Very dense on the palate with fine intensity. Very complex finish.

  • Vintage 2010

    • 87% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 13% Merlot

    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.

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    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.

  • Vintage 2009

    • 82.5% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 17% Merlot
    • 0.5% Petit Verdot

    The beginning of the growth cycle was a tricky period due to a rather warm, very wet spring. The teams had to be particularly vigilant in order to protect the vines.
    Fine, stable weather returned in June and continued throughout the summer. In fact conditions became drought like, interspersed in July, August and September with welcome periods of light rain. Plenty of sunshine, with temperatures that were high without becoming scorching, and fairly cool nights enabled slow ripening that pushed the start of the harvests back to the end of September. Exceptionally favourable weather conditions, crowned by harvests in the sun, made for a vintage that was certain to be outstanding.

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    A deep bouquet of dark fruit and liquorice. The palate is full-bodied and already expressive, but then becomes tighter, expressing power and exuberance. The youth of this Lafite does not hide its energy, but the distinctive elegance and complexity are already there!

  • Vintage 2008

    • 84% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 15% Merlot
    • 1% Petit Verdot

    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.

    Tasting Notes (at bottling):

    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.

  • Vintage 2007

    • 84% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 15% Merlot
    • 1% Petit Verdot

    Plentiful rain during the winter replenished the groundwater levels; the end of the cold damp winter was marked by a very early bud break. Temperatures in March and April were quite high, which was good for growth. From then until August the weather was grey and mild, without extremes. Luckily from the beginning of September the weather was fine and stable, which enabled the grapes to ripen in peace. Complete ripening for the sugars, tannins and skins was only reached 125 days after flowering – a longer than usual growth season in a year with 13 lunar cycles.

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    Very ripe red fruit on the nose. Closed at first, then full and open. Elegant and charming, still somewhat discreet, good length. Well-integrated oak.

  • Vintage 2006

    • 82% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 16% Merlot
    • 2% Cabernet Franc

    The winter was colder and wetter than in other recent vintages. This was followed by a rather warm spring through to July that led to an early change in the grapes’ colour and good ripening. August was then colder but September was sunny, except for a stormy spell in mid-September which accelerated the harvests.

    Tasting Notes (at bottling):

    Beautiful very dark colour. Discreet nose with primary notes that develop in fullness and density. Quite powerful on the palate with very good structure and a nice tannic finish with well-integrated woody notes.

     

  • Vintage 2005

    • 89% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 10% Merlot
    • 1% Petit Verdot

    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.

    Tasting Notes (at bottling):

    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.

  • Vintage 2004

    • 90.5% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 9% Merlot
    • 0.5% Petit Verdot

    After a rainy winter and a cold spring, June and July were dry and warm. August was mild and in September the weather was good without being very warm, which led to slow ripening and the harvests being pushed back to the end of September. Patience was needed to wait for the grapes to become perfectly ripe.

    Tasting Notes (at bottling):

    On the nose, the wine is closed and then opens up slowly. Fruity, slightly roasted notes. On the palate, the attack is generous, the wine then evolves a full-bodied balance, with richness and great elegance. A very long, smooth, silky finish.

  • Vintage 2003

    • 86% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 9% Merlot
    • 3% Cabernet Franc
    • 2% Petit Verdot

    2003 will always be a memorable vintage due to the heatwave in the Bordeaux region and in the country generally. A two-week period spell of scorching heat suddenly arrived in August, with temperatures rising above 40°C. Rainfall was very low throughout the vines’ cycle (555 mm between October 2002 and September 2003, compared to an average of 850 mm) but the soil remained relatively cool and the vines did not suffer from a lack of water.
    Our work in the vineyard had to be adapted to deal with these exceptional conditions. Leaf removal operations were thus reduced in order to protect the vines from the scalding effect of the heat.
    Fortunately, water reserves in the soil and more moderate temperatures from the start of September enabled the ripening process to be completed. weather in 2003 saw an exceptional heat wave in the first half of August with temperatures exceeding 40°C, together with low rainfall throughout the growth cycle.

    Tasting Notes (at bottling):

    Deep colour with very ripe red fruit on the nose. On the palate, the vintage proves to be particularly rich, intense and smooth with very rounded tannins. Long persistent finish.

  • Vintage 2002

    • 87% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 9.5% Merlot
    • 3.5% Cabernet Franc

    The early bud break due to a warm, dry winter was followed by a rather cold, rainy period during flowering which led to coulure (flower abortion) and millerandage (poor fertilization with mixed size berries). From the beginning of June, the yield was expected to be low. The rather cool July and August brought the same unexceptional weather as the preceding months. However, this did not stop the grapes changing colour and slowly ripening.
    The weather was excellent as the harvests approached; September was superb, sunny and dry with a north-east wind which accelerated the ripening process.

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    This is a very dense, robust vintage with tight tannins and texture, good balance and tremendous length.

  • Vintage 2001

    • 86.5% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 13.5% Merlot

    After a very damp winter and very mild temperatures, bud break was early. The vines flowered uniformly during the usual period. The summer was alternately warm and cloudy until the harvests – July was rather cool, August rather warm and September cool again with some rain. Ripening was fairly uniform and the harvest took place in very good conditions.

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    Intense bouquet of black fruit. This is a very elegant, harmonious wine, with powerful, ripe tannins, very pure fruit and good length.

  • Vintage 2000

    • 93% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 7% Merlot

    A relatively early growing season with above average temperatures and normal rainfall. Rain at the end of May and early June made the vines vulnerable to mildew, but our technicians were diligent in protecting the vines. The end of summer was beautiful, and the hot, dry weeks in August and September resulted in very ripe grapes.

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    Very dark colour with hints of purple. The aromas are sumptuous and captivating, both powerful and extremely delicate on the palate, with remarkable tannic structure and length.

  • Vintage 1999

    • 74% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 18.5% Merlot
    • 6% Cabernet Franc
    • 1.5% Petit Verdot

    The winter was mild, as has been the case for most of the decade, followed by a fine spring and early flowering. From July until mid-August, humid days with partly sunny skies raised the threat of rot and botrytis, which can come on quickly and ravage the vines. Fortunately, the weather was scorching hot from 15 August until the harvests. These were conducted in record time in rainy weather.
    This was a gamble: we needed to harvest ripe grapes in the minimum amount of time. This vintage was made with four grape varieties, which is rare, but also happened in 1996 (Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are rarely used together in the Grand Vin). 

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    This vintage has a pleasant woody, spicy bouquet and a well-structured palate. It is very well-balanced and elegant, with a long finish offering notes of very ripe red fruit.

  • Vintage 1998

    • 81% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 19% Merlot

    We were concerned that a rainy harvest might dash our high hopes founded on the early bud break, uniform flowering, dry spring and scorching August. But very fortunately there was no rain until the harvests had already begun. The grapes were moistened but not harmed, in what was perhaps a case of divine intervention.

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    Once the first vats had been prepared, analysed, and tasted, weary expressions changed to satisfied smiles. This vintage reflects the strength of our terroir, with its dark, deep colour and a woody, fruity, spicy attack. The 98 may be kept for a long time; a rich, full-bodied wine with a very long, silky finish.

  • Vintage 1997

    • 90% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 10% Merlot

    The secateurs were brought out on 8 September to snip off the first bunches of Merlot: this early harvest came after ideal winter and spring weather. However, the summer turned out to be rather rainy. Fortunately, like the year before, a glorious September enabled us to pick the grapes in the sunshine.
    This was one of the longest harvests ever to take place at Lafite. Very careful sorting was carried out to ensure that only healthy bunches were selected. 

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    The wine has a spicy bouquet, a silky, sweet palate, with a fruity, voluptuous finish. This delicious vintage will undoubtedly mature more quickly than its two older siblings, 1995 and 1996.

  • Vintage 1996

    • 83% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 9% Merlot
    • 8% Petit Verdot

    The growing season was excellent in 1996, with optimal conditions for the initial part of the growth cycle. August was then difficult, cold, and rainy; drenching the winegrowers’ spirits. Fortunately this was followed by a gloriously sunny September.

    Tasting Notes (at bottling):

    This vintage thus had three phases, which ultimately produced a rich, dense, structured, very complex wine. Some tasters find ’96 reminiscent of the elegance of ’53, and the power of ’59, which augurs well for this vintage that will undoubtedly improve with age for a very long time!

  • Vintage 1995

    • 74% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 18% Merlot
    • 8% Petit Verdot

    A very sunny year with a dry summer. Early in September, we had some light rain that was good for the grapes. The harvests began at the normal dates with well-ripened grapes. 

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    This is an excellent vintage, with particularly fine tannins. It is very elegant with a long palate and will age for a very long time.

  • Vintage 1994

    • 99% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 1% Petit Verdot

    The harvests took place in excellent weather conditions. At the beginning of the winemaking process, the grapes showed tremendous potential with exceptional results after maceration.

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    1994 has a fine concentration and a dark magenta colour. Well-structured with tight, well-integrated tannins. excellent capacity to improve with age.

  • Vintage 1993

    • 81% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 11% Merlot
    • 8% Cabernet Franc

    The harvest was conducted under overcast skies, with alternating rain and sun, but ending on a sunny note. 

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    Fermentation was quick, but nonetheless maintained good tannin concentration. The wine has an intense colour, and a harmonious, subtle bouquet. This is a fine, balanced wine that will age well. A wine of great class.

  • Vintage 1992

    • 73% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 27% Merlot

    A difficult year, in terms of weather. The harvests took place on the usual date, accompanied by overcast skies and some rain. The grapes were nonetheless in fine shape at the end of the harvest, giving us an excellent surprise at the completion of fermentation. 

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    This vintage has a good level of tannins, a balanced structure, well-defined aromas, a deep purple colour, and a spicy, woody bouquet. It has a fine palate, and is ready to be enjoyed.

  • Vintage 1991

    • 64% Merlot
    • 36% Cabernet Sauvignon

    A classic harvest with alternating rain and sun, but all the properties had already suffered the worst frosts in decades.

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

     This vintage is surprising in its quality and consistency. It has a fine colour and is very clean and direct, with a well-developed structure. The tannins are smooth, light but mature. Good, long finish.

  • Vintage 1990

    • 57% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 30% Merlot
    • 13% Cabernet Franc

    The yield was abundant and of outstanding quality. Excellent weather conditions for the harvests.

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    Very deep colour. A complex bouquet with blackcurrant, blackberry, smoke, leather, and spicy aromas. There is just a hint of oak. The attack is direct and elegant, with lots of tight, refined tannins and ripe fruit. Silky texture, and a very long finish. This wine may be kept for many years.

  • Vintage 1989

    • 67% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 33% Merlot

    No winemaker had seen such early harvests: the earliest since 1893. Beginning at the end of August, the grapes were ripe and extraordinarily sweet. While early ripening does not always lead to the best wines, we were sure that, for the reds, this would be an excellent vintage, and the wines that it produced are truly delicious. 

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    The Médoc produced deeply coloured wines that are rich and full-bodied, without being heavy, similar to the 1982 vintage.

  • Vintage 1988

    • 72% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 28% Merlot

    The terrible battle in June against mildew was won thanks to the progress that has been made in the use of fungicides; this was followed by a hot, dry summer and September that enabled the grapes to fully ripen. 

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    1988 produced richly coloured Cabernet and Merlot wines, that are tannic and powerfully structured.

  • Vintage 1987

    • 68% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 27% Merlot
    • 3% Cabernet Franc

    A hot, dry summer was followed by heavy rain which lasted throughout the harvests, resulting in low yields. The final result was nonetheless very satisfactory. 

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    Rigorous selection produced very balanced, soft, fruity wines. The rain having resulted in very ripe grapes. While not as concentrated as the 1986 or 1988, this vintage has the great advantage that it can be drunk young.

  • Vintage 1986

    • 69% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 16% Cabernet Franc
    • 15% Merlot

    At the dawn of the 1986 harvests, after half a decade of success, the winemakers and wine enthusiasts were sceptical of yet another fine vintage. Yet a fine vintage it was: excellent spring weather followed by a dry summer with occasional light rain, led to a very abundant, high-quality yield. The wines are almost black in colour, very concentrated without being heavy, with distinguished, dominant tannins.

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    This wine offers a surprising blend of many of the characteristics of the vintages from 1945 to 1949. It is a fine wine for laying down, that should age well  due to its exceptional structure.

  • Vintage 1985

    • 65% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • 25% Merlot
    • 10% Cabernet Franc

    The 1985 vintage signals a return to excellent quality. The same weather conditions as in 1982, i.e. continuous sunshine from July to September, produced similar results: grapes with thick skins, with condensed, supple tannins and intense aromas. These grapes have produced full-bodied, velvety wines, with complex bouquets, possibly even more elegant than the 1982 vintage. Ideal weather in September made 1985 an exceptional vintage, even recalling the Médoc’s fabulous wines of 1953.

    Tasting notes (at bottling):

    Delicious in its youth, it can be enjoyed early but will age gracefully.