The 1997 Carruades de Lafite (a blend of 32% Merlot, with the rest mainly Cabernet Sauvignon and a small portion of Cabernet Franc) maintains its reputation as one of Bordeaux's better second wines. The color is dark ruby with purple nuances. The wine is soft, fleshy, and round, with more up-front fat than Lafite, but not nearly the length or perfume. Supple, with low acidity, and an easy-going, silky finish, it will drink well between now and 2006. Lafite's harvest occurred between September 8 (beginning with the Merlot) and October 2. For some Cabernet Sauvignon parcels, there were an exceptional 135 days (the norm being 105-110 days) between the flowering and harvest. This estate, which made a profoundly great 1996, utilized only 28% of its harvest for the 1997 grand vin. Moreover, the selection for the second wine, Carruades, was also severe.
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.