Château Lafite Rothschild
Château Lafite Rothschild is one of only four classified first growths and thus the designation as 1st er Cru. The vintage rankings of the Universal Paris Exposition in 1855 officially gave Lafite the rating as “Leader among fine wines”
The first known reference to Lafite dates to 1234 with Gombaud de Lafite and Lafite’s mention as a medieval fief dates to the 14th century. Baron James de Rothschild purchased Château Lafite in 1868 and has remained under Rothschild family ownership since. Through the years, Château Lafite sustained natural disasters, wars and crises. After World War II, the Barons de Rothschild recovered possession of Château Lafite Rothschild and revitalized the estate’s business. Baron Elie led a program to restore the vineyards and buildings while fully restructuring the property’s administration.
Baron Eric de Rothschild, nephew of Baron Elie, currently manages the estate and Rothschild properties around the world. Baron Eric’s management of the estate has made forward strides through research and the gradual addition of a new technical team. The vineyards have been replanted and restored, while the use of fertilizers and herbicides have been reevaluated. In the chais, a stainless steel tank complex alongside oak tanks, and a new circular aging chai were constructed under the supervision of Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill. The new chai design style was acclaimed for its innovative character and uncompromising spirit and can hold 2,200 barrels.
The estate encompasses 440 acres, 276 acres being vineyards planted to Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Merlot (25%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (2%). The vineyard features three major areas: the hillsides around the Chateau, the adjacent Carruades plateau to the west and 11 acres in neighboring Saint Estephe. The average age of the grapevines is 39 years old, but it should be noted that vines younger than 10 years old are not used in the Grand Vin. This means that the average age of the vines used in the Grand Vin (Château Lafite Rothschild) is closer to 45 years. The oldest plot, called “La Gravière , was planted in 1886.
Charles Chevallier is Technical Director of the Bourdeaux Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Duhart-Milon,Château L’Evangile and Château Rieussec. Mr. Chevallier comes from a family of wine-growers in Lunel in the Coteaux du Languedoc. He graduated from the Ecole Supérieure d’Agriculture of Purpan in Toulouse as an Agricultural Engineer and later continued studies in Research and development of phytosanitary products for winegrowing.
In 1979, Mr. Chevallier became the Technical Department Director (vine, cereals, herbal medicine) in a Cooperative at the Union Agricole des pays de la Loire in Thouarcé . In 1983, Mr. Chevallier joined the prestigious Bourdeaux wineries as Technical Deputy Director for Château Lafite Rothschild. Subsequently he became the Technical Manager for Château Rieussec, and Technical Director for Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Duhart-Milon,Château L’Evangile and Château Rieussec.
In January 2016, Charles retired from his role as Technical Director of the Bordeaux Châteaux and assumed the role of Senior Advisor.
Eric Kohler, Technical Director of the Bordeaux Châteaux, is assisted by oenologist and winemaker Christophe Congé, and vineyard manager Louis Caillard.