After the primeur tastings in 2006 when considering my wine of the vintage I surmised of this extraordinary wine: “… certainly this Lafite would have to be right up there.” 12 years on and I am hard pushed to name a favourite amongst the amazing flight of First Growths. But if forced this was my wine of the night! It really does deserve a flawless score of 20/20. Typically Pauillac with hints of graphite and fresh tobacco leaf, this exceptional wine somehow balances refinement and grace with understated power. A wine so full of energy and yet beautifully subtle. It is almost fully aware of its greatness that it doesn’t have to shout from the roof tops. A wine of supreme balance which I dream to have the opportunity to drink when it reaches its absolute prime.
One peek into Ch Lafite's cellar is like entering the 18th century. Its cobweb-dressed chandelierssubtly light shadowy corridors playing host to hundreds of ancient vintages. Nothing could be more representative of its philosophy - classic, stylish yet powerful characteristics that have made it one of the most collectable wines in the world. In 1985, a 1787 Jefferson bottling obtained £105,000 at auction. Twenty-one years later, it remains the most expensive bottle ever sold. In 2005, Lafite produced one of the top wines of the vintage. Full stop. It is full-bodied and fleshed out with lots of ripe bramble fruit and excellent almost granite-like - minerality. Silky yet with formidable presence, it is true to its soulful character and will long reward those who find it in their cellars. Drink 2015 - 2035+.
Beautiful, elegant red, blue and black fruits (89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Merlot) as well as some graphite and spice notes jump from the glass of the 2005 Lafite Rothschild. Medium-bodied, with superb purity and texture, this is not a blockbuster by any means, but a meticulously made, lovely-textured Pauillac. Long and pure, this wine should drink well for 25-30 years. There is no danger in pulling the cork on it today.
While the 2005 is another brilliantly classic Lafite Rothschild, for my taste, it comes in slightly behind their extraordinarily opulent 2003 as well as the dramatically powerful 2000. A blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Merlot, the 2005 boasts a dark ruby/purple color in addition to that exceptional Lafite perfume of graphite, spring flowers, crushed rocks, and sweet black cherry and black currant fruit that exudes class and nobility. The wine is medium-bodied with extremely high levels of tannin in addition to sensational purity, length, and overall harmony. However, it is exceptionally backward, and even more tannic than either the 1995 or 1996. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2050+
Made in an ethereal style, the 2005 Lafite is composed of nearly 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, just under 11% Merlot, and a tiny fraction of Petit Verdot (representing only 40% of the total harvest). It is a deep, structured, linear style of Lafite Rothschild that is in total contrast to the opulence and extravagant richness of the 2003 and the bold, dramatic power of the 2000. The dense ruby/plum/purple-tinged 2005 offers up scents of graphite, flowers, crushed rocks, and loads of berry fruit. Medium-bodied and sweet with high tannin, it represents the quintessentially elegant style of Bordeaux. Another brilliant effort made under the auspices of administrator Charles Chevalier, it should be at its finest between 2015-2050+.
The 2005 Lafite is a lighter-styled effort than I expected, but of course, this estate is renowned for its delicacy and finesse. After the world-beating, off-the-charts 2003, which is a modern-day clone of the 1959, the 2005 seems pretty and restrained, but very noble as one would expect. Remarkably, the alcohol is actually higher in 2005 than in 2003, topping out at 13+%. The final blend was 88.8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10.7% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot. Production represented only 40% of the harvest. The wines dark plum/ruby/purple color is followed by Lafites tell-tale aromas of lead pencil shavings intermixed with flowers, minerals, sweet berries, and black currants. Medium-bodied, quintessentially elegant and finesse-styled with high but ripe tannin, it is an impeccably pure, exceptionally well-made effort. Despite its obvious charm, my instincts suggest it will shut down after bottling. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2050+.
Extremely complex and intriguing on the nose. More lifted than Duhart Milon and Carruades. Very fine-boned and minerally - graphite sensation (although there is no Cabernet Franc in the final blend). Delicate - which is quite an achievement in 2005! Very subtle and very youthful. Wonderful opulence with a neat, dry finish. A gorgeous drink that may be overlooked in comparison with Latour's greater drama but a very fine representation of both château and vintage, with, I suspect, a very long window of drinkability. Drink 2018-40?
Fabulous aromas of currant, tobacco, mineral and cedar with licorice undertones. Muscular wine with firm yet velvety tannins. Full-bodied, with lots of fruit yet reserved and long. Wonderful balance yet plenty of strength. Extremely well-toned and long. 2000 again?
Dense black-red, lovely fragrance yet still very firm, a seriously classic Lafite, very long term. Drink 2020-2050. (5 stars).
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.