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Lafite Rothschild 2020

Subregion France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pauillac
Grape VarietyCabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

Lafite is one of the greatest wines of Bordeaux and particularly popular with Chinese wine buyers. It was one of the four châteaux 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. Recent changes in management have seen the arrival of Jean-Guillaume Prats - who previously ran Cos d'Estournel so well - and then managed the overseas wine interests of the giant LVMH group. Quality seems to be back to the highest level under wine-maker Eric Kohler who took over in 2015.

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Tasting Notes

Looking at the Grand Vin, the 2020 Château Lafite-Rothschild is a sensational effort checking in as 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot that hit 12.8% natural alcohol and a pH of 3.94. As Lafite as Lafite gets, this ultra-classic reveals a dense ruby/plum hue as well as a tight, yet layered bouquet of ripe blackcurrants, smoked tobacco, freshly sharpened pencils, graphite, and subtle spice. Flawlessly balanced, deep, concentrated, and layered, it has an incredible mid-palate, building, perfect tannins, and a finish that leaves you salivating. Refined, elegant, and perfection are the buzz words here. Unfortunately, it's not for the instant gratification crowd, and I wouldn't be surprised to see this require 15 years to hit the early stages of its prime drinking window. It will probably hit its 100th birthday in fine form.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, March 2023

Rather ethereal and so refined with finesse, focus and brightness that provides incredible energy and pedigree. It’s full-bodied with ultra fine tannins that go on and on. Superb presence with tannins that melt into the wine. This is 12.8%. I love the wine. Lots of dark fruit and fresh tobacco. Lead pencil, too. 92% cabernet sauvignon, 7% merlot and 1% petit verdot.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, May 2021

Displaying a deep purple-black color, the 2020 Lafite Rothschild takes a little swirling and coaxing to unlock scents of freshly crushed blackcurrants, boysenberries and spiced plums, followed by emerging nuances of red roses, raspberry preserves, underbrush and unsmoked cigars, with a waft of cedar chest. The medium-bodied palate is an exercise in elegance and finesse, featuring tightly wound layers of red and black berries and loads of mineral sparks, framed by finely grained tannins and well-poised tension, finishing with fantastic length and the most stunning perfume. Magnificent achievement. This 2020 is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, coming in at 12.8% alcohol and a pH of 3.9. Drink 2028-2063.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, May 2021

Delivers classic sculpted Lafite architecture, where everything builds slowly and carefully, step by step, nothing out of place. This is a delicious wine with pencil lead and crushed mint leaf from mid palate through to the close of play, elegant and understated power, brimming with estate signature. The tannins are elongated, finely balanced against the acidity, with slate scraping texture. Fine and long but with a ton of understated power, uncompromising. Eric Kohler technical director, 100% new oak.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, February 2023

The harvest here was completed by 29th September, yielding a final wine with a very modest 12.8% abv. The blend is typically Cabernet Sauvignon heavy at 92%, with 7% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. Deep ruby colour. Superb precision and refinement on the nose - full of cool blackcurrant fruit that is laced with fresh tobacco, cedar, camphor and pencil shavings. The palate follows, with all the fruit intensity required while retaining a savoury elegance. Driven with fantastic fruit deliniation, this is a wine of restrained power and depth. The rich tannic structure builds subtly, but brings a mouthcoating chewiness by the finish. This is long and refined with each element perfectly balanced and in place. A wine of unforced harmony.

Farr Vintners, Farr Tasting, May 2021

92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot. Cask sample.
A very masculine Lafite with a powerful tannic frame (bigger than 2019 and 2018). Deep, intense and stately on the nose with mineral-graphite notes to the fore. Palate rich but with a massive charge of fine-grained tannin and lingering freshness. Enormous length on the finish. Incredible potential. (JL) 12.8%
Drink 2032 – 2060

James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2021

(92% CS, 7% M, 1% PV; 45% harvest; 12.8% ABV)
Dense, mineral, gently oaky to smell, as always so subtle, fine, demanding of attention; fresh, concentrated, superfine in tannin texture, a gloriously harmonious balance; sweet, succulent, aromatically complex and refined, gently fleshy yet so fresh tasting, very long across the palate, softly mouthcoating, so full of delicate perfume, and intense yet so subtle cassis fruit, and with a terrific farewell of fruit and mineral aromas. A seductively complete and classic beauty, a discreet power, an effortlessly serene and polished performance, a top Lafite. Remarkable at under 13% ABV! 2036–60+.

Michael Schuster, The World of Fine Wine, May 2021
Read more tasting notes...

This is pretty much as close to entirely Cabernet Sauvignon as Bordeaux gets (92%) and yet it has an incredibly fine, gentle richness to the tannins. They build up pretty quickly though, so that by the end of the palate you start to feel the closing in and tightening, deftly underscoring how well this will age. The kaleidoscope of flavours and aromatics that Lafite does so well is fully on display, nothing trying too hard, a velvet texture to the tannins where the cassis fruit, earth, crushed stone and graphite is held in from beginning to end. Impressive that even in dry vintages like 2020 with the real concerns over global warming, the top Bordeaux estates can still produce wines of this quality.

Drinking Window 2028 - 2046

Jane Anson, Decanter.com, May 2021
Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.