|Subregion||France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pauillac|
Lafite is one of the greatest wines of Bordeaux and particularly popular in Asia. 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.
The 2022 vintage had a yield of 32 hl/ha (10% down on last year) and the grape mix is 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc. Most of the Merlot was used for Carruades (which is a near 50:50 blend this year).
The 2022 Lafite-Rothschild was picked from 31 August to 24 September and apart from the 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, there is 17.5% pressed wine in the blend. The IPT is slightly lower than 2020. There is 13.6% alcohol this year, higher than 2018 and 2019. It has an intense bouquet with blackberry, crushed stone, touches of pencil box and undergrowth, very Lafite-Rothschild in style. The palate is medium-bodied with pliant tannins, perfectly judged acidity, linear and focused. Compared to vintages a couple of decades ago, there is mid-palate weight, yet it retains classicism and transparency, while delivering quite a gentle but insistent grip on the finish. Perpetually the most deceptive of First Growth, one should not doubt its long-term potential. 2032-2075
A blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, the 2022 Lafite Rothschild unwinds in the glass with aromas of dark berries, cassis, sweet soils tones, cigar box and lilac. Medium to full-bodied, it's the most tensile of the first growths this year, with a layered, concentrated but youthfully introverted mid-palate, lively acids and a long, saline finish. It checks in at a rather high pH of 3.85, which belies its incisive profile, from a harvest that extended from August 31 to September 24.
Quintessential Lafite, this 2022 is all about focus, precision and cool black fruit. Deep, driven and fine with lots of blackcurrant, baked vanilla, wood spice, pepper and hedgerow. The palate has supreme focus, with pristine blackcurrant, fleshy black cherry, black pepper and cedar. The tannins are mouthcoating but highly refined. Structure and fruit are beautifully in sync - this is not a showy wine, rather one of pure sophistication. Very long and subtly complex on the finish. Superb.
A classical Lafite that reminds me of something like the 1986, with its blackcurrant and tobacco character with cedar and hazelnut, but it's so today with its purity and precision. It's really about being Lafite here. Terroir gives great elegance with strength.
Composed of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot, the 2022 Lafite Rothschild is deep garnet-purple in color. The nose is almost impenetrable to start, needing a lot of shaking to wake up delicate scents of crushed red and black currants, raspberry leaves, warm plums, and boysenberries, followed by hints of crushed rocks, damp earth, lilacs, and Jasmine tea, with just a hint of orange peel. The palate is classic great Lafite, featuring incredibly tightly knit layers of black fruits, minerals, and floral notes bound with a rock-solid structure of exquisitely fine, very firm tannins and bold freshness, finishing with epic length and depth. This is an intellectual triumph, but don't think about touching it for 10-15 years. pH 3.85.
Saturated inky colour, with intense ruby reflections. This is a classically constructed Lafite, with clear power to the tannins and intense spice, a little more upfront and concentrated than you find in many En Primeur vintages at this property but it exemplifies balance and confidence. Fully in control, delivering estate signature with finesse and understatement, with pulses of graphite, slate, bitter almond and cocoa bean. Takes its time to uncurl in the glass, leaving you plenty of time to admire its architecture. Give it a good decade at least. 17.5% of press wine, 3.85ph, 41% Lafite of overall production. Harvest August 31 to September 24, earliest since 1893. 100% new oak, Eric Kohler techincal director. Potential upscore in bottle.
The 2022 Château Lafite-Rothschild is based on 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot that was harvested between the 31st of August and the 24th of September. It's a richer, more opulent wine compared to the more classic 2020 (although the pH is higher in the 2020) and has a deep, full-bodied, concentrated profile as well as classic Lafite aromatics of spicy red and black fruits, freshly sharpened pencils, graphite, and tobacco. Deep, rich, and concentrated, it nevertheless stays pure and flawlessly balanced, with ample, ripe tannins and a great finish. It's going to have some up-front appeal by Lafite standards but should still require a decade of bottle age. Director Eric Koher compares this to the 2005, but this modern-day clone of the 1959 is one of the most powerful, concentrated Lafites I've tasted.
94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot. 33 hl/ha. Cask sample.
Precise and long with sublimated force. Darker colour than usual. Deep and fathomless in terms of expression, dark-fruit and graphite notes dominating. Impressive fruit on the palate, the tannins powerful but suave and fully integrated. Long life ahead. (JL) 13.6%
Drink 2034– 2055
The key points of 2022 were the three distinct heatwaves and the respite periods that allowed the vines time to relax and recuperate. 110mm of rain helped in June, cool nights in July further boosted the health of the vines and rain storms in August also ensured that the vines did not run out of steam prior to harvest. The Lafite teams started picking on the 31st of August, and they picked small pockets of vines that were starting to suffer in the heat. This tactic boosted those vines on the rest of the plateau. As far as winemaking was concerned, minimal extraction was needed because ‘the juices were black from day one’. Saskia de Rothschild explained to me that ‘the reason 2022 is so stunning is that the vines lived through 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 in readiness’. These are all fascinating vintages, and Saskia believes that the Lafite vines learned how to deal with heat spikes, among other issues, and they have a remarkable ability to adapt. Strangely, at Lafite, Cabernet had higher alcohol degrees than Merlot, and the result is a genuinely awesome wine with amazing balance and sensational amplitude of flavour. This wine has more exoticism
than I have seen before, adding a thread of scintillating stylishness to the whole. Aeons long and impossibly silky, this is a lively Lafite full of cadence and purity. Oak spice adds to the distinctive fruit tones, bringing rigour and definition to the honed fruit. All of the work in the vineyard and the incredibly sensitive winemaking achieved stunning results in 2022. This is a genuinely gorgeous wine, and unlike the tense, introverted Lafites of past years, this is a relaxed, harmonious and infinitely detailed wine. Nothing is forced or rushed, and I sense that the vineyards speak with uncommon clarity in 2022 Lafite.