Bottled at the end of April, Basile Tesseron told me that the 2017 Lafon-Rochet underwent a very light pressing with slow pumping over and no pigeage or délestage since the fruit was fragile. Around 35% of the production was lost due to frost, mainly on the western flank of the vineyard. It offers more red fruit on the nose compared to some of its Saint-Estèphe neighbors, raspberry and crushed strawberry intermixed with light Cuban cigar aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with light, off-dry tannins, a little more black fruit than on the nose. It has a fleshy, rather conservative, light finish with tobacco notes lingering on the aftertaste. Drink 2020-2032.
|Score: 91||Neal Martin, vinous.com (March 2020), February 2020|
The 2017 Lafon-Rochet has matured in 50% new oak and the remainder in one-year old. I have to say, the bouquet is very expressive with plenty of blackberry, wild hedgerow, oyster shell and pressed flower that blossom in the glass. It is very well defined and more sophisticated than I have detected in recent vintages. Perhaps this is the first vintage where the new winery, replete with concrete vats, has really played a serious role in meliorating quality. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit, quite saline in the mouth with just a hint of black olive. There is a slightly grainy texture with a sustained peppery finish, completing a crisp and vivacious Lafon-Rochet that should please many wine-lovers. Expect this to land at the top of my banded score. Drink 2020 - 2040.
|Score: 91/93||Neal Martin, vinous.com, May 2018|
Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Lafon-Rochet gives up subtle cassis and black cherry notes with hints of sautéed herbs, damp soil and pencil lead. Medium-bodied and slightly thin in the mouth, it has a well-played chewy texture and nice freshness, finishing with an herbal lift.
|Score: 85/87||Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (236), April 2018|
Aromas of smoke and tobacco with some currants, too. Medium body. Chewy tannins and an herb and berry aftertaste. Shows attractive fruit drive at the end. Drink in 2021.
|Score: 91||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, January 2020|
Solid, ultra-clean 2017 with a very pretty core of fruit and chewy tannins. Flavorful and fresh. Extremely long and focused.
|Score: 92/93||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2018|
The 2017 Lafon-Rochet has really come together nicely since I tasted it in barrel. Deep, rich and yet also vibrant, the 2017 has so much to offer. In 2017, Lafon-Rochet is a wine of precision and class. What it lacks in overt body, it has in persistence and that most elusive quality in wine - personality. I don't expect the 2017 to be especially long-lived, but it will offer fine drinking over the next decade or so. 2022 - 2032.
|Score: 92||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, March 2020|
The 2017 Lafon-Rochet is wonderfully deep and fleshy, but in the mid-weight style that is typical of the year. Dark red and purplish fruit, lavender, licorice, spice and leather all flesh out in this attractive, if somewhat understated, wine from Lafon-Rochet. Silky tannins accompany the mid-weight finish nicely. The 2017 is a very pretty wine, although it is a touch light in this vintage. Tasted three times.
|Score: 89/91||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com (236), May 2018|
Tangy, almost salty, nose. Smooth, layered, very fine texture. Not hugely fruity but balanced with a long, elegant aftertaste following a relatively light mid palate. Longer than it is deep but attractive.
|Score: 16.5||Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2018|
The yield here was a fairly normal 38 hl/ha which will mean a production of around 90,000 bottles. 13 degrees alcohol. They see this vintage is being somewhere between 2008, 2012 and 2014 in style. The blend is 55% Cabernet Franc, 34% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot. A medium ruby colour in the glass, this shows very toasty oak and some lightly herbal blackcurrant leaf and cherry on the nose. The palate is midweight with crunchy tannins and notes of black cherry and mint showing a bright and lifted style. Well proportioned and compact, this will need a little time for the structure to settle but offer good mid-term drinking, particularly as the fruits flesh out during the elevage.
|Score: 15||Farr Vintners, April 2018|
The nose is not showing a lot of fruit the start of the palate tight with fresh fruits and structured tannins. Richer in the middle the mix of black cherry and sloe gives more depth the sweetness slightly overtaken by the tannins at the back. Drink 2025 - 2040.
|Score: 86/89||Derek Smedley MW, DerekSmedleyMW.co.uk, May 2018|
This is a lovely St-Estèphe this year, firm and bright with bristling fruit right out of the gate - hugely unusual to see that this year. This is one of my favourites, and is totally charming with its cassis and damson fruit, but it's the juice and friendly tension that sets it apart. Silky and enjoyable. Buy.
Drinking Window 2025 - 2040
|Score: 93||Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2018|
Very impressive with a rich nose, deep fruit and a full finish, this is a powerful wine but nothing is forced and the oak and alcohol only serve to underpin the dark, inky fruit.
|Score: 17.5||Matthew Jukes, Matthew Jukes' Blog, April 2018|