Lafon-Rochet was recently described by Decanter Magazine as “one of the most exciting estates of the Médoc” and possibly “Bordeaux’s most improved 1855 château”. Now in his tenth year as managing director of the Château, Basile Tesseron’s approach is hugely hands-on in both vineyard and cellar. Under his watchful eye Lafon-Rochet is going from strength to strength, realising the massive potential of the terroir, a stone’s throw from Cos d’Estournel and St Estephe’s border with Pauillac.
We had the opportunity to taste a vertical of eight vintages of Lafon Rochet last night and picked these three wines as the stars of the range.
2005 and 2009 are of course hugely celebrated vintages in Bordeaux. The 2005 is just entering its prime, but has many years’ life ahead of it. The 2009 has huge potential but is unquestionably for laying down – it should hit its stride in another five years or so.
Basile Tesseron’s delicious 2014 was one of our St Estèphe highlights En Primeur and continues a run of fine form for this fourth growth château. Winemaker Lucas Leclercq has produced a wine with an unprecedented balance of intensity and finesse. A firm favourite with the team at last night’s Lafon-Rochet dinner – incredible value for money and a ‘must have’ for the cellar.
We have secured limited parcels of these three wines so this is a great opportunity to add a case or two to your cellar.
*Please note availability date varies. 2005 & 2009 available in March 2017, 2014 available in May 2017.
Ch Lafon Rochet 4ème Cru St Estèphe 2005
£470.00 per 12 IB / £594.00 per 12 inc VAT
This has a fine blackberry, cedar-infused nose with good definition – tightly coiled and certainly needing more time. Very good concentration, fine tannins, quite succulent for a Saint Estephe but very well poised with fine sense of mineralite on the finish. Imbued with femininity, which is unusual. Good depth and cohesion. This remains an excellent Lafon-Rochet although its still needs time. Drink 2015-2025. Tasted January 2009.
92 points. Neal Martin
Dense ruby/purple and still youthful and exuberant, with oodles of cassis and incense, the 2005 Lafon-Rochet is medium to full-bodied, with ripe tannin and a long finish. Just becoming approachable, this wine should continue to drink well for another 10-15 years. Drink 2015-2030. Tasted June 2015.
91 points. Robert Parker
Ch Lafon Rochet 4ème Cru St Estèphe 2009
£395.00 per 12 IB / £504.00 per 12 inc VAT
This is a strong performance from Lafon-Rochet. There is a lot of high class new oak on the nose here, but there is plenty of ripe black fruit to support it: dark plum, blackcurrant and graphite. The palate is medium-bodied with a dense, grippy entry and a rather saturnine mid-palate. Closed, broody, obdurate and yet there is certainly decent weight of fruit here. At the moment it is unapologetically charmless but its time will come. Kudos Basile Tesseron. Tasted January 2013.
93 points. Neal Martin
Perhaps the finest Lafon Rochet ever made, the purity, freshness, and sweet, rich, blueberry and boysenberry fruit and hint of pen ink that are found in this opaque purple-colored wine are impressive. Massive in the mouth, with freshness, delineation, and sweet tannin, it is a major sleeper of the vintage that should last for 25+ years. Drink 2020-2035.
91-93 points. Robert Parker
Ch Lafon Rochet 4ème Cru St Estèphe 2014
£295.00 per 12 IB / £384.00 per 12 inc VAT
The Château Lafon-Rochet 2014 is a blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot picked from 1 October until 15 October. Basile Tesseron explained that there was 25 and 35mm rain between 7 and 9 October at which point the Cabernet was not able to ripen further due to the lack of water. This gave the ripeness another spurt and destroyed the pyrazines. Pumping over was about 0.5 to 1.5 the volume per day over a long period to avoid extracting any harsh tannin (especially from the seeds) with a short cold maceration. It has a complex bouquet: brambly black fruit, touches of dark plum mixed with black olive and incense. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, crisp acidity, a little chalky in texture with a precise, quite pointed finish. This 2014 continues a run of fine form for the estate. Drink 2019-2032.
90-92 points. Neal Martin