- Château Lafite Rothschild
- Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot / Cabernet Franc
- Case size
Robert Parker, February 1998,
I have noticed in my tastings that the second wine of Lafite-Rothschild, Carruades de Lafite, has improved over recent years. The 1996, a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon and 37% Merlot, may turn out to be the finest Carruades I have ever tasted. It possesses as much power, ripeness, and fleshy fruit (because of the high percentage of Merlot) as I have ever detected in this offering. While it does not quite have the characteristics of Lafite, being fleshier and more accessible, it is a beautifully made wine with a subtle dosage of toasty new oak, an appealing texture, and excellent length. Given its power, this second wine will need 2-4 years of cellaring, and keep for 15+ years (I would not be surprised to see it last for two decades). Drink 2000-2020
Château Lafite Rothschild
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.