The 2018 Lafite-Rothschild was picked September 17-25 for the Merlot and September 25 to October 4 for the Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a very intense bouquet of blackberry, tar, tobacco and graphite aromas. It feels extremely cohesive and harmonious, gaining vigor with aeration over 30 minutes. The pure, refined palate is medium-bodied with an arresting satiny texture, perfect acidity and an undercurrent of cracked black pepper and sage. This is a great Lafite-Rothschild that might end up challenging the 2016, though I concur with winemaker Eric Kohler that it is unlikely to surpass it. The 2018 Lafite-Rothschild is certainly impressive, and at 13.3% alcohol, you will not need so much aspirin the following day. Drink 2025-2060.
|Score: 95/97||Neal Martin, vinous.com, November 2019|
The 2018 Lafite Rothschild is blended of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot and has 13.3% alcohol. The Merlot was harvested September 17-24, the Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested September 25 to October 5, and the Cabernet Franc was harvested on September 24. It has a deep purple-black color and then WOW—what a nose. It comes sashaying out of the glass with bags of grace and perfume, revealing notions of lilacs, red roses, fragrant soil, cinnamon stick and Morello cherries with a core of blackcurrant cordial, fresh black plums, redcurrant jelly and tapenade plus a waft of iron ore. Medium-bodied, the palate has wonderful, tightly wound layers of black, red and blue fruits intermingled with floral, earth and mineral notions and a rock-solid frame of the most finely pixelated tannins you can possibly imagine. Anyone who wants to see what I mean when I babble about the Lafite tannins needs to try this benchmark. The finish goes on, and on, and on. If this wine doesn’t get Bordeaux lovers hearts' racing, nothing will.
|Score: 98/100||Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (April 2019), April 2019|
A very compact and linear Lafite with a fantastic mouthfeel of intense but ever so refined tannins that draw a straight line through the middle of the wine. It’s full-bodied yet compact with complex character of plums, blackcurrants, cigar tobacco, cedar and hints of hazelnuts and coffee. Salty. Orange zest at the end. Delicacy with power. Richness with softness. Glamorous. Lasts for minutes at the finish.
|Score: 99/100||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2019|
The 2018 Lafite-Rothschild is creamy, sensual and inviting, with lovely purity of fruit and impeccable balance. Dark cherry, plum, licorice and spice are some of the many nuances that develop. Time in the glass brings out striking aromatic depth and overall persistence. Although an undeniably attractive wine, the 2018 does not appear to have the sheer pedigree of the very best wines in this vintage. None of the three samples I tasted were as impressive as I had hoped for. Perhaps I had bad luck. Time will tell. The blend is 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot.
|Score: 93/96||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, May 2019|
pH 3.7. 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot, 0.5% Petit Verdot. Barrel sample.
Black core. Introverted dark fruit, almost sour in its dark freshness. Amazing elegance without any apparent sweetness. So dry, so serious but with body and richness in the middle. Classicism and precision. Some rocky/mineral darkness. Paper-fine layers of tannins. Fresh with a power and yet a delicacy at the same time. A dark dry purity. There is a serenity to this wine, it has muscles but is not flexing them. Opens up to riper, richer fruit character. Wonderful harmony and refined length. Could turn out to be my wine of the primeurs tastings. (It did.) (JH)
|Score: 19||Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2019|
Deep, opaque ruby in colour. This is perfumed and pure on the nose, with black fruits, star anise, nutmeg and violets. The palate is desceptively powerful, due to unparalleled refinement of the rich, mouthcoating tannins that provide the structure. The fruit can therefore shine through, bursting with creamy cassis and redolent red fruits, laced with cuban tobacco and cedar. The finish is supple and enduring, a true reflection of the best 2018 has to offer.
|Score: 19||Farr Vintners, Farr Tasting, April 2019|
What will unquestionably be another magical wine from Eric Kohler and his team, the 2018 Château Lafite checks in as 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot, and just a splash of Petit Verdot. It's a classic Lafite that offers a deep purple/ruby color and beautiful notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil shavings, tobacco, cedar, and graphite. Flawlessly balanced, full-bodied, and seamless, it's a wine that builds incrementally on the palate, offering incredible finesse, ripe, present tannins, and a great finish. It reminds me of a more elegant version of the 2016 and should be approachable with just 5-6 years of cellaring and keep just about forever.
|Score: 96/98||Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, May 2019|
This is silky and delicious and juicy, not something you can often say about a Lafite En Primeur sample but before you even get close to tasting the wine you can feel the layers building.
It has the precision, the freshness and the sense of effortless elegance that Lafite always conveys with lots of power and depth, deep black fruits on the nose and a mix of spices from rosemary to saffron on the palate.
Is it better than the 2016? It’s hard to say at this stage but it certainly feels its equal, although differently constructed and unlikely to take as long to come around - think 10 rather than 14 years before reaching its drinking window.
It's worth adding that very few wines have been so unmarked by the extremes of the vintage, or as technical director Eric Kohler puts it; 'Even after 25 years of working at Lafite I continue to be full of admiration for this terroir. Other plots that we own reacted to the heat at times, but Lafite just kept sailing on as usual'.
The harvest took place between 17 September and 5 October, with a yield of 40hl/ha. 40% of the production went into the grand vin. 3.75pH which is classic for them. 74IPT.
|Score: 98/100||Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2019|
(91 Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5 Merlot, 0.5 Petit Verdot) | 13.3% alc With a more exuberant stance, which is certainly less classic than 2016, this is a rather shockingly delicious and immediately appealing Lafite. There is some superb depth, amazing graphite notes and even some floral tones here, too. The volume of flavour and freshness is thanks to the gentle extraction. It was important to control everything humanly possible in this vintage and I think that the team here has managed to get a little extra out of their bunches. Controlling temperature and less pumping over meant than this is an extremely interesting wine. It remains a Lafite-shaped wine and the signature is still here, but it is out on a limb in terms of its flavour expression and I happen to like this a lot, as I favour more expressive wines over more reserved ones. Lafite suggested that is was their divine terroir which enabled them to retain the perfect balance which this wine shows and this is the critical reason for its success. Even the small addition of Merlot, planted in 1919 and 1967 played their part! While this is an unusually exciting Lafite on the palate, it is familiarly strict on the finish and so while I venture that this is an atypical creature in the greater scheme of things it will still cast a Lafite-shaped silhouette on your palate in years to come.
|Score: 19.5+||Matthew Jukes, MatthewJukes.com, April 2019|