The most subtle of all the wines in the 1st growth line up, so whilst not show stopping in its characteristics, it has huge class. Browny orange in colour, aromas of red fruits and wild forest fruits, and this wine balances subtlety and texture, with quite a noticeable amount of Pauillac tannic structure. A very full wine, with real intensity, all on reserve, but with a feeling that there is a genie waiting to pop out…High class indeed and in a few years time might score half a mark more.
As I suspected, the 1989 and 1990 vintages of Lafite-Rothschild have gone dormant. Both wines were among the more closed, backward examples in my blind tasting. The 1990 is riper, richer, and more textured, but mouthsearing tannin and a closed personality make it hard to fully assess. The wine possesses excellent richness, a hint of the unmistakable Lafite perfume of minerals, cedar, lead pencil, and red fruits, medium to full body, moderate weight, admirable richness and overall balance, and a tough finish. Give it a decade of cellaring to shed some tannin and evolve; it may be a 40-50-year Lafite. As outstanding as I believe it will ultimately turn out to be, I do not think the 1990 Lafite will ever match the sheer class, quality, and complexity of the 1988, 1986, and 1982. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2035.
One peek into Château Lafite's cellar is like entering into the 18th century. Its cobweb-coveredchandeliers subtly light shadowy corridors that play host to hundreds of ancient vintages. Nothing could be more representative of its wine making philosophy - classic, stylish and yet powerful - characteristics that have made it one of the most collectible wines in the world.
Due south of St Estèphe lies the appellation of Pauillac, the king of Left Bank communes. It is home to three first growths as well as a plethora of other classified growths. Pauillac's renowned well-draining, gravelly soils enable its dominant grape Cabernet Sauvignon to reach fantastic heights of complexity and concentration. As a result, Pauilac's wines tend to be full-bodied with compact tannins and good freshness. Its aromatics are often what one associates with classic Bordeaux: pencil shavings, black currant and occasional mint. Some of the most famous châteaux of the commune are Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild, Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande and Lynch Bages.