The Journal / Breath

A breathtaking wine list

We’ve travelled across our estates to curate a list of the finest vintages to uncork in 2024.

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From the Corbières mountains to the Andes, the Domaines Barons de Rothschild Lafite teams pour their passion into creating exceptional vintages. Depending on the weather, the blend, the ageing or even the stories behind every bottle, some vintages tend to stand out a little more than others…

We asked our wine specialists to handpick the bottles most deserving of a place at your table in 2024. This is their wine list.

Vintages blowing out a candle:

The Château d’Aussières Magnum 2014 turns 10

Nestled in the heart of the Corbières, the village of Aussières has been producing wine for over 2,000 years. Through the ages, its lands have been cultivated by emperors, by the Church… only to be abandoned in the 20th century. In 1999, Baron Eric de Rothschild acquired the estate, embarking on a mission to restore the village, its wine production and its reputation.

The result? « At Aussières, our vintages are still relatively young » says Jean de Roquefeuil, the Domaine d’Aussières’ Estate Director. Yet, in just 25 years, certain wines have already distinguished themselves. « This year marks the 10th anniversary of the 2014 Château d’Aussières Magnum.» Jean continues. «And it’s tasting exceptionally well at the moment! »

Here’s how the Bettane & Desseauve Guide describes this vintage: «An elegant fragrant nose, ripe blackberries and red fruits, subtly oaked, hints of violet, plum, and sweet spices. The palate is structured, warm, aromatic yet fresh. It expresses vigour, energy and potential.»

A potential that has truly been revealed, as it celebrates its tenth birthday.

Château Rieussec 1984 turns 40

«The 1984 vintage is particularly well-balanced and promises to be a “vin de garde” »  according to its original technical sheet. Forty years on, Mathieu Crosnier, Estate Manager of Rieussec and Château Paradis Casseuil, confirms this vintage’s steadfastness. Back then, it was described as such: «fresh and fruity aroma, delicately laced with dried fruit and honey».
4 decades later, tertiary aromas have had time to unfold, adding layers of complexity.

If one birthday isn’t enough, here comes another one! 1984 also marks the year Rieussec joined the DBR Lafite family. Therefore, 2024 provides a dual cause for celebration: the 40th anniversary of an exceptional Sauternes, and an even more remarkable estate.

The Château Lafite Rothschild 1964 turns 60

Frédéric Domingo has been a sommelier-guide at Château Lafite Rothschild for over two decades. In total, he reckons he has tasted between 130 and 140 vintages from the estate. When we asked him to pick just one, he pondered for a moment. The answer came a few days later, via email: «Recently, we tasted a magnum of Château Lafite Rothschild 1964. All of us, including the technical team and Saskia, found it remarkably intriguing.»

This very magnum has been selected for the meal following this year’s 2024 En Primeurs tasting. Frédéric explains, «En Primeurs consists of previewing the 2023 vintages of Château L’Évangile, Château Duhart-Milon and Château Lafite Rothschild to our brokers and merchants». The tasting is followed by the traditional “pot-au-feu”. 150 guests gather around 15 magnums of the 1964 Château Lafite Rothschild. For an sexagenarian, this vintage has lost none of its lustre.

The Revealed Gems

Le Dix Cosechas Antiguas, Los Vascos, 2003

What about our Chilean wines? Let’s head over to Viña Los Vascos to find out. Surrounded by the towering Andes and the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, this estate is located in the Colchagua region, 200 kilometres south of Santiago. Max Correa, the estate’s oenologist, doesn’t hesitate for a moment with his recommendation. «If I had to choose one bottle to open in 2024, it would be Le Dix, 2003.» That year holds a special place in his heart: «It was my first harvest at Los Vascos.»

His nose and palate thoroughly validate his sentimental choice. 2003 was a cooler year than usual, he recalls, and «this vintage has evolved exceptionally well. Initially, its tannins were a bit sharp, but now they are very smooth. With time, the wooden aromas have integrated beautifully.»

Max smiles, making an analogy: «Some people might seem rather ordinary in their youth. But suddenly, once they’ve reached a certain age, grey hair suits them perfectly!»

CARO, Magnum 2007

On the other side of the Andes, 500 kilometres from Los Vascos in Mendoza, lies Bodegas CARO – our Argentinian estate. There, we meet Pablo Serrano, Technical Director. Should he choose a bottle to open in 2024, it would be a magnum of CARO 2007. «At 17 years old,»  he says, «the wine still shows a youthful vigour: bursting with complex notes of fresh black berries, dry fruits, coffee, and a hint of nutmeg. Its palate is impeccably balanced, with firm yet refined tannins that have stood the test of time.»

Several factors have contributed to its “remarkable” ageing, Pablo shares. «The 20 year-old balanced Altamira vineyards, and the temperate to cool weather during that vintage help to preserve a nice acidity  in the wine.» His pairing recommendation? «I envision the wine paired with a richly flavoured meal, perhaps lamb or goat, or a well-seasoned duck!»

Château L’Évangile 2002

Let’s head back to France, to a realm where the Merlot reigns supreme. Nestled 40 km northeast of Bordeaux, within the heart of the Pomerol plateau, lies L’Évangile. The top pick of Juliette Couderc, Estate Director at Château L’Évangile, is the Château L’Évangile 2002. «It was Charbel Abboud’s (our cellar master) first harvest. And it’s a vintage that’s showing exceptionally well right now!»

Its tasting notes reveal a «delicate nose with notes of roasted coffee underlined by aromas of black fruits reminiscent of blackcurrant» It also highlights «a direct and fresh attack with lots of fruit on a powerful and smooth tannic structure. A full and persistent mouth with a balanced and complex finish.»  The power and depth of this wine, among other factors, owe much to a geological mystery: there, the heavy green clay soils are covered by a bed of gravel.

Struggling to find a bottle of Château L’Évangile 2002? Don’t worry. Juliette Couderc notes that « the 2006 and 2012 vintages are at their peak right now, it’s the perfect moment to open them.» 

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