Lafite is one of the greatest wines of Bordeaux and particularly popular with Chinese wine buyers. It was one of the four Chateaux originally classed as "First Growths" in 1855 and has been owned by the Rothschild dynasty since 1868. The vineyards are situated in the Northern sector of Pauillac near to Saint Estèphe.
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Even stronger and more toned than the excellent 2015, this Lafite shows incredible power yet also finesse. Full-bodied, superfine and chewy wine. Muscular yet agile. Goes on for minutes. Stunning. Perhaps the greatest Lafite since the legendary 1959?
The 2016 Lafite Rothschild is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot, with 15% of the press wine contributing to the blend this year. Deep purple-black in color, it slowly reveals the most gorgeous perfume of kirsch, lilacs, black raspberries and warm blackcurrants with underlying nuances of cigar box, rose hip tea, cloves, licorice and pencil lead plus a waft of garrigue. Medium-bodied and built like a brick house with a firm yet beautifully ripe, finely pixelated tannic backbone and seamless freshness supporting the amazing intensity of black fruits and floral layers, it finishes very long and provocatively perfumed. Drink Date 2022 - 2066.
An awesome Lafite, this is elegant to a fault. It has the classicism of the very best vintages, and the pulse of electricity that runs through it is clear from the first moment you taste it. You are absolutely in Pauillac here, the epitome of what the left bank can deliver in terms of elegance and density: menthol edged tobacco, charcoal and cassis with both a subtlety and an intensity at once. It totally expands through the palate and pulls itself out, stretching out in front of you. It's a serious wine, but seamless. Concentrated, pure and fresh, everything is in its place. The blend this year is 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot. Harvest took place between 23rd September and 12th October. 98-100 points.
Tasted blind. First bottle: Big, burly, mulberry nose. Then a little tart on the end. Big and bold. More concentrated than the … Second bottle: Similar rather glorious but possibly OTT nose and then polished tannins and less tart on the end. Very voluptuous. I’m sure no one else in the world would demand a second bottle of this; it’s just that the Southwold crew are subjecting all these 2016s to such scrutiny. Slightly salty.
Drink 2026 – 2045
Lafite is one of the greatest wines of Bordeaux and particularly popular with Chinese wine buyers. It was one of the four Chateaux originally classed as "First Growths" in 1855 and has been owned by the Rothschild dynasty since 1868. The vineyards are situated in the Northern sector of Pauillac near to Saint Estèphe. 92% Cabernet Sauvignon in 2016, which just 8% Merlot and no Cabernet Franc in the blend. Extremely pure on the nose, with great focus and lift of cassis, and subtle wood smoke. The palate is all about focus and refinement. Supreme delineation of black fruits, sweet and savoury spices and wonderfully fine-grained, ripe, yet persistent tannins provide precision, focus and harmony. The pure, intense and yet weightless fruit core streamlines the flavours through to the finish, hints of wood smoke, vanilla, and tobacco emerging long after the wine has gone. This deceptively powerful wine puts Lafite right back at the top of its game. A very impressive showing, making it one of the best wines of the vintage.
Spring violets the nose is fragrant and fresh the start of the palate bramble and bilberry bright quite light. Rich and ripe in the middle supple and fleshy the rich fruit is supported by fine tannins discreet and integrated. Lighter at the back the fresh fruits give style and elegance. 2026-50
Not far off wine of the vintage territory. Like the 2015 (under-rated by many, in my view), it’s a scented, refined, almost delicate Pauillac with red berry and floral notes, effortlessly integrated new oak and fine-boned tannins. 2026-40
The 2016 Lafite-Rothschild is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot picked from 23 September until 12 October with the Cabernet Sauvignon (and unused Petit Verdot). It has 13.3% alcohol, a pH of 3.65 and the IPT of 74. Matured in 100% new oak, it has a fresh and vibrant bouquet whilst retaining the classicism of this First Growth. This is more subtle than Mouton-Rothschild or Latour, which is always the case at en primeur, yet there is a brooding intensity that draws you in as it unveils some gorgeous blackberry and graphite aromas. The palate is just superb. This has more density, more vigor, more depth and you could even argue more ambition than the 2015 Lafite-Rothschild showed last year. It gently grips the mouth with unerring focus and symmetry, just a touch of spiciness developing with a long, saline finish that lingers two minutes after the wine has departed. Lafite-Rothschild always develops and meliorates in barrel during its élevage and I suspect this will ultimately turn out to be a regal Lafite-Rothschild. Drink 2030 - 2070.
Very rich, dense dark crimson. Not much nose, just a vague impression of quality lurking beneath the super-subtle aroma. Round texture, tannins are in a very low register indeed. Then I'd love to see just a little bit more energy. Round and it may all get together. A really rather delicate Lafite. Nothing in excess; it's true and very classic claret - very Lafite - but arguably just a little muted. 13.4%