Sixty-four percent of Lafite's 1993 crop was eliminated from the final blend. The 1993 Lafite contains an atypically high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon (92%, plus 8% Merlot). Unlike in Graves, St.-Emilion, and Pomerol, the Merlot harvest was considered disappointing at Lafite. This wine reveals none of the hardness, or tough-textured personality of the 1993 vintage. It offers Lafite's classic, intense, subtle perfume, great intensity and purity in the mouth, medium body, and a sweet, generous, authoritative yet elegant personality. The wine exhibits fine ripeness, wonderful richness, and a layered personality. It is a terrific success for the vintage. It will undoubtedly firm up after bottling, but it was showing spectacularly when I tasted it in November.
Because Lafite-Rothschild (1) tends to lack the weight of many wines of the northern Medoc, and (2) is never a flashy, ostentatious style of wine, it is often more difficult to evaluate when young than some of its neighbors. A successful wine for Lafite, this dark ruby/purple-colored 1993 is tightly-wound, medium-bodied, with a closed set of aromatics that reluctantly reveal hints of sweet blackcurrant fruit, weedy tobacco, and lead pencil scents. Polished and elegant, with Lafite's noble restraint, this is an excellent, classy, slightly austere wine. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2020.
One peek into Château Lafite's cellar is like entering into the 18th century. Its cobweb-covered chandeliers 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. Situated in the north of Pauillac, Château Lafite-Rothschild sits on gravel soils with bits of limestone scattered in the mix. It is one of the largest estates in the Medoc and one of the most prominent, the wines exude elegance and finesse. The vineyard is laid out to mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) with the rest comprising Merlot (25%) Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (2%). The second wine, Carruades de Lafite, has a slightly more Merlot than the Grand Vin and is thus more approachable in its youth.
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.