Château Lafite Rothschild
A fully mature vineyard
The vineyard consists of three major areas: the hillsides around the Château, the adjacent Carruades plateau to the west, and 4.5 hectares in neighbouring Saint Estèphe. The vineyard covers 112 hectares and is well-drained and well-exposed, with soil made up of fine deep gravel, mixed with aeolian sand on a subsoil of tertiary limestone. It is well-drained and well-exposed to the sun.
The grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Merlot (25%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (2%).
The average age of the grapevines is 38 years old, over all. But it must be noted that vines younger than 10 years old (representing 20 hectares) are not used in the Grand Vin. This means that the average age of the vines used in the Grand Vin (Château Lafite Rothschild itself) average 45 years. The oldest plot, called “La Gravière , was planted in 1886.
The management of the estate
The property has been managed since 1962 by a single team that, due to the proximity of the two properties, oversees both Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Duhart-Milon. Charles Chevallier, Director of the Domaines, is assisted by oenologist and winemaker Christophe Congé, and vineyard manager Regis Porfilet.
Both châteaux use exactly the same traditional techniques, based on strict control of yields, manual harvests, and numerous tasks that are carried out by hand all through the year. Little or no chemical fertilizers are used, and careful use of organic fertilizers allow the vines to reach an advanced age, they are generally pulled out (with a heavy heart) when they reach 80 years old.