|Subregion||France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pauillac|
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. Quality seems to be back to the highest level under wine-maker Eric Kohler who took over in 2015.
A brilliant wine that shares some similarities with the formidable 1996, the 2021 Lafite Rothschild wafts from the glass with inviting aromas of dark berries, cigar box, loamy soil, black truffle and violets. Medium to full-bodied, deep and layered, it's rich and concentrated, with beautifully powdery tannins, lively acids and a long, saline finish. Of course, this isn't as dramatic as the 2020 or 2019 out of the gates, but the 2021 is a brilliant success in its own right. What's more, its structure and balance mean that it is likely to prove almost immortal. It's a blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, which is one of the all-time highest percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon chez Lafite.
The 2021 Lafite-Rothschild, which was aged in 90% new oak, has a deep, almost opaque hue. This has quite an arresting bouquet with dense blackberry, sous-bois and pencil box scents, quintessential Lafite aromas with nuanced floral scents surfacing with time. The palate is medium-bodied, though with more weight than you would expect given the growing season. The Cabernet Sauvignon imparts graphite and almost briny elements into the aromatic profile. Sapid and classic in style, head winemaker Eric Kohler suggests that it is a return to the style of Lafite-Rothschild of the nineties in terms of freshness. I concur.
The yield was low at 33 hl/ha, as is the alcohol at a more traditional level of 12.6% abv. It is strongly Cabernet Sauvignon at 96% with just a touch of Merlot and Petit Verdot. Eric describes it as being a "classic, balanced and elegant vintage, in the style of the 1996". Deep purple in colour. Silky cassis, braised game, toasted cumin and fine graphite on a very sophisticated nose. These characteristics continue on the palate, together with hints of black pepper and iron. Very fine but persistent tannins line the palate and provide a deep focus. Vertical, harmonious and long, this is perfectly proportioned, cool Cabernet with all the savoury refinement expected from the Lafite stable. Tobacco, cedar and pencil shavings flicker through the pure and fine fruit on the finish, which is full of vigour and energy. This should only get better with further elevage, but it is already a very, very fine example of the vintage.
Polished and refined with a firm, fine and linear tannin structure. Harmonious. Perfumed violets, roses and subtle licorice. All in balance here, with precise layers of black fruit, minerals and pencil lead. Rather seamless. Firm, yet fine and sleek to the end. Very classy. Fine-velvet texture. 96% cabernet sauvignon, 3% merlot and 1% petit verdot.
The 2021 Lafite Rothschild is a blend of 96% CS, 3% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it needs a lot of swirling to shake loose notions of ripe blackcurrants, fresh blackberries, and black raspberries, followed by hints of cedar, graphite, cloves, and cast-iron pan with a waft of roses. Light to medium-bodied, the palate delivers intensely perfumed black fruits with a floral and herbal undercurrent textured by firm, finely grained tannins, and featuring well-integrated acidity, finishing on a lingering fragrant earth note. This should be one of the most long-lived wines of the vintage, with cellaring potential of 40+ years. Yields came in at 33 hl/ha and the wine has a pH of 3.9.
Deep in colour, has grip and presence. Loganberry, blueberry, wet stones, hawthorn, forest floor, this is a long-ageing Lafite, not one that I would rush to open. It delivers tannic power from beginning to end, with density and juice and length, a reminder that Lafite manages to perform strongly in so many different styles of vintage. Delivering right at the very top of Pauillac. 1st year organic conversion. 90% new oak. No frost at the estate, yields of 34hl/h, harvest September 22 to October 8. 40% 1st wine.
96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot. 33 hl/ha. Cask sample.
Deep crimson hue. Customary elegance rather than power. Perfumed nose, attractive fruit and a surprising density of tannin (15% press wine to bolster the structure). Quite discreet and measured in its form but good length and should improve further in bottle. (JL) 12.6%
Drink 2030 – 2050