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Lafite Rothschild

2003 Carruades de Lafite. Displaying a deep dark garnet red, this wine carried notes of ripe dark berries and blackcurrants, better on the palate than nose, with a dash of cedar and raisins that tapered to a dominant graphite character towards its short finish, becoming quite seamless and fragrant over time. Compared with the venerated premier cru, this second wine is rather understated in structure, giving way to a softer, more slender and feminine character that’s entirely consistent with Lafite, just missing in outright opulence and voluptuousness although there’s certainly no lack in concentration of quality fruit. Tasted January 2015.

1969 Château Lafite Rothschild. Displaying an almost pinot tint, this Lafite is still imbued with excellent fullness in spite of its rounded mellowed softness, yielding a lovely lifted pungency from its core of aged plummy fruit and sweet melted tannins. Wonderful! Tasted July 2019.

1976 Château Lafite Rothschild. Decanted from an Imperial bottling! Still imbued with a deep garnet core in spite of its forty-three years, this wine exuded an astounding bouquet of dark berries, mulberries, black cherries and currants with a suggestion of  very fine graphite elements that was most alluring, matched with a lovely feminine suppleness filled with abundant peaches and tangerines on a rich cedary floor, still laced with gorgeous acidity that has the legs to carry on for many more years, just missing in the last ounce of profundity. This wine was drinking so well that I must have drunk almost a bottle’s worth. Outstanding! Tasted September 2019.

1982 Château Lafite Rothschild. Opaque brownish red, exuding a glowing distilled complex of dark berries, currants, cassis, soy and dried mushrooms, superbly focused in its effusive deep velvety fragrance while the medium-bodied palate is beautifully open with supple subtle Pauillac nuances, laced with sublime acidity that conferred understated verve. Elegantly poised with great harmony and feminine refinement. Truly the quintessential Lafite. Tasted September 2020.

1985 Château Lafite Rothschild. Dark dusty red at its core, glowing with cedar, cassis and cinnamon, slightly sweet, amidst the classic Pauillac signature of dried leaves, tobacco and cigar box. Highly harmonious and homogenous, seamless yet complex, still retaining its structure with  superb definition all the way to its lasting finish. Supremely confident and elegant. A complete wine, caught at its peak and will hold on for years to come. Tasted March 2011.

1985 Château Lafite Rothschild. Deep crimson. Effusive in green capsicum and the hallowed glow of distilled red fruits. Rather fleshy. Softly rounded and open, gently layered with inviting characters of haw and camphor laid on austere earthy minerals, displaying great harmony and length though it remained rather subdued on the whole. Tasted September 2020.

1986 Château Lafite Rothschild, poured from magnum. From its infinite depth arose a beautiful hallowed glow of rich dark berries, black fruits and dark cherries that led to deep delicious flavours on a palate infused with dark feminine charm amidst the classic Pauillac dryness, fleshy with crisp acidity, blossoming well in the glass with dark luxuriant plummy tones. Has the legs for another few more decades. Tasted December 2017.

1989 Château Lafite Rothschild. Ephemeral nose of sweet anise-seed tertiary characters coupled with just the right balance of red and black fruit. Absolutely seductive. Medium-bodied, displaying flirtatious tannins seamlessly integrated with the fruit amidst cedar and anise-seed while the acid pirouetted at the tip of the tongue, finishing with moderate length. Elegance defined. Tasted June 2006.

1989 Château Lafite Rothschild. Very dark-red, tasting remarkably youthful, a wine of large proportions but immensely complex and layered. Solid in the middle, becoming softer and more yielding later, developing more notes of cherries, eventually becoming quite Burgundy-like. Tasted October 2010.

1989 Château Lafite Rothschild. Moderate bouquet of red plums, dark cherries and some attractive earthy pungency. On the palate, the Lafite is much deeper and richer with an abundance of dark currants and delicious ripe fruit, medium-full, velvety in texture, laced with sweet unobtrusive tannins. Distinctly feminine, displaying more of balanced fragrance and proportion rather than outright heft. This is the best 1989 Lafite I’ve had, and it is still far from peaking. Tasted November 2014.

1990 Château Lafite Rothschild. Glowing deep ruby. Still shut at the first pour, probably the result of it not being decanted although one could discern floral notes and red fruits amidst the depths of darker fruits, waiting to burst forth. When it finally did open up after another hour of persistent coaxing in the glass, it was a quintessential Lafite that greeted the senses – feminine, full of elegance and immaculate composure, absolutely harmonious with understated power beneath, rising towards a lifted, long lasting finish. One is left with the feeling that it would have been even better had it been decanted, but it still stood heads and shoulders above all the other 1990 clarets that came before it. Such is the power and allure of Lafite Rothschild in a great year. Tasted July 2014.

1990 Château Lafite Rothschild. When freshly popped this wine was tannic, angular and stern. But by the time we tasted it hours later, it had transformed totally into a mature, soft and gentle claret offering an abundance of earthy pungency on the nose matched with an enchanting depth of dark currants and mature red fruits on the palate with recessed unobtrusive tannins that are perceived rather than felt, conjuring up a sombre burnished tone. For sure, some of the classic dry Pauillac signature is evident, but this wine succeeded in flummoxing every experienced wine aficionado who tasted it. Not quite the quintessential Lafite on this occasion but outstanding, nevertheless. Tasted October 2014.

1990 Château Lafite Rothschild. Distinctly feminine, displaying a wonderful perfumed fragrance and lifted aromas of rose petals, red fruits, red plums and blueberries, rounded with added notes of white pepper and mild earthy pungency on the palate without much of the Pauillac dryness, brimming with elegant intensity, understated power and great persistence throughout its length with no hint of the wine having hit its peak. A quintessential Lafite, like a woman whose beauty is apparent, yet unfathomable. Tasted October 2015.

1990 Château Lafite Rothschild. This stalwart of the Left Bank boasts a great exuberance of complex aromas that leapt from the glass, carrying glorious streaks of raspberries, blueberries and dark currants tinged with earthy minerals that exuded further notes of red fruits and plums, thoroughly sensuous with its velvety tone, sublime acidity, superb vigour and quiet intensity, rounded with sophisticated tannins. An absolute cool beauty that still appears to have decades of life ahead. Totally absorbing. Tasted August 2017.

1990 Château Lafite Rothschild. This wine opens with aromas of dark berries, mulberries and dark currants with a soft feminine fragrance, eminently elegant as it opened up with a deeper mentholic vein, still displaying very good presence and fine acidity, gaining further intensity with more velvety textures as it sat in the glass, just a tad short as it finished with a gentle ferrous trace. Quite the quintessential Lafite, still holding well even though its cork had turned too friable. Tasted March 2019.

1990 Château Lafite Rothschild. Deep purple with only slightest hint of evolution. Enticing complex bouquet, a hallowed deep glow of ripe red plums, soy and black cherries with a hint of smouldering ember. Beautifully open with velvety textures amid sublime acidity, seamlessly layered, exuding great charm and feminine elegance as it stretched out with superb definition and intensity. Just like an earlier bottle from the same case tasted in March 2019, this wine has been caught at its peak and will last. Outstanding. Tasted June 2019.

1996 Château Lafite Rothschild, poured from double magnum. Deep bouquet expressing great earthiness with a mild attractive pungency, almost tarry. The palate is imbued with a great tone of dark currants and black fruits supported by a highly minerally base with sublime acidity that imparts brilliant intensity, attack and precision, fleshing out with superb detail and power though turning stern again as the lengthy finish returns to its minerally roots. Outstanding but far from ready. Tasted December 2017 at FICOFI’s Les Palais des Grand Crus in Paris.

1999 Château Lafite Rothschild. Good colour, exuding a gentle glow of red plums. Medium-bodied and fleshy with pointed acidity that conferred lovely freshness, but this still cannot disguise its relative lack of the quintessential Lafite charm and  velvetiness, a tad short as well. Underwhelming. Tasted June 2019.

1999 Château Lafite Rothschild. Deep ruby. Well developed bouquet of red plums and dark cherries with some bright spots, fairly effusive. Good concentration and fullness of fruit that imparted lovely tensile acidity and mouthfeel, fleshing out with surprisingly good power amid darker undertones of mahogany tinged with mushrooms, truffles and wild berries on a floor of iron filings and earth, its subtle recessed tannins never in the way. Rounded with elegant expanse, finishing with glowing intensity and refinement. Far better than a previous tasting in June 2019 at FICOFI’s Bordeaux promenade. Tasted April 2020.

2001 Château Lafite Rothschild. Deep garnet red. Delicious bouquet of red currants, cherries and dark roses that is simply quite lovely. Absolutely harmonious with superb freshness and supple intensity, subtly structured and fleshy. Developed greater depth with more of the smoky Pauillac tobacco character coming on, turning a bit cooler darker and more introspective over time. Drinking very well but may not have peaked. Tasted September 2020.

2002 Château Lafite Rothschild. Intense brooding nose arising from the deep garnet red, very reluctant, almost sullen though there is no mistaking the rich fruit and dark berries that lay beneath. Gradually, like the proverbial flower that greets the morning sun, it began to bloom. Slowly but surely, the rose-scented fragrance began emerging, matching the sweet blackberries and a deeper vein of raspberries  laced with the minerality of creosote. Initially medium-full, a tight masculine Lafite, but it kept developing in the glass, gaining more breadth and weight but, at the same time, becoming more relaxed and softer, and eventually by the final pour, a bit of the quintessential feminity came through within the velvety texture. Obviously drunk way before its maturity, but the lesson learnt was that an off-vintage Lafite can still impress. Tasted May 2010.

2002 Château Lafite Rothschild. Impenetrable deep dark red, stuffed with ripe dark berrie, redcurrantss and characters of soy, highly lifted. Good saturation of dark cherries and warm ripe fruit with open chewy tannins, exuding  lovely feminine charm. Having emerged from its brooding shell, this wine is much more engaging now than a previous bottle from the same batch tasted in 2010. Tasted December 2017.

2003 Château Lafite Rothschild. More reticent on the nose than Latour with subdued red fruits amidst mild plummy tones. Dryish on the palate with fine concentration of raspberries and dark roses with traces of vanilla, more structured than Latour (surprising!), finishing with good length though one discerns some awkwardness in integration. Tasted April 2017.

2003 Château Lafite Rothschild. Deep garnet red. Very deep intense bouquet of black fruits and dark currants. Superbly ripe. Darkly delicious. Open with lovely suppleness, exuding a youthful intensity that carried a certain feminine fullness and warmth with some early secondary characters coming on over time. Highly harmonious, just a tad short which is probably a result of the very hot vintage. Tasted March 2020.

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