Château Lafite Rothschild
85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
Château Lafite Rothschild is one of only five classified first growths and thus the designation as 1er Grand Cru Classé. The vintage rankings of the Universal Paris Exposition in 1855 officially gave Lafite the rating as “Leader among fine wines.”
The vineyard covers 276 acres and is divided into three separate areas: the hilly ground close to the Château, the plateau of the Carruades and a plot in the commune of Saint Estèphe (special permission was granted to incorporate these wines into the Pauillac appellation). The soil is composed of fine gravel mixed with aeolian sand and planted with four classic Médoc grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Merlot (25%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (2%). The average age of the vines is 35 years but those that produce the Grand Vin selection are 45 years or older. The oldest plot, “La Gravière”, was planted in 1886. In August 1868, Baron James de Rothschild purchased Château Lafite and it has remained in the family for six generations. The property is currently run by Saskia de Rothschild.TERROIR & VINTAGE NOTES
The village of Anseillan lies to the east of Lafite Rothschild, between the Château and the Gironde. This area presents a wide variety of terroirs which are the subject of much thought and research. Cooler and later because of their northern exposure, they are also more clayey than Lafite’s classic terroirs. This particularly interesting diversity offers plots that are suited to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. This terroir and the teams’ work gives Anseillan a unique style and excellent complexity.
The vintage got off to a good start with a mild, dry winter. Fine weather at the start of spring resulted in an early vegetative start. April and May was colder than usual and especially dry, which slowed the growth of the vegetation. Pauillac vine flowers first appeared on May 28th. A rainy spell arrived in the second half of the flowering period, leading to some coulure and millerandage. June had a rainy and cool start, then a heat wave arrived at the beginning of the summer, the likes of which had not been seen since 2003. Fortunately, it was short-lived and the vines, which were catching up, were able to face the heat. Rain arrived on July 26th: 1.75” fell in Pauillac, perfect for triggering the veraison. August temps remained very mild, without any heat peak and with a few scattered showers, then dry through the end of the month until mid-September. Harvesting for the Merlot took place from Sept 21–23, and until October 4th for the Cabernet Sauvignon.WINEMAKING & AGEING
Anseillan is made according to the traditional Bordeaux method. Alcoholic fermentation is conducted in wooden, concrete and stainless steel vats. Gentle pumping-over helps to ensure a soft extraction and is carried out according to the specific characteristics of each tank. Total maceration time lasts for about 20 days. After malolactic fermentation, wines are transfered into French oak barrels made by the Tonnelleries des Domaines in Pauillac for about 16 months.TASTING NOTES
Beautiful color, very young. Rich, intense and expressive nose, very characteristic of the vintage with its ripe and fresh notes. On the palate, the wine continues along the same lines: its attack is dense while remaining lively, it is powerful while being light. Already melted, the tannins are present and stretch the palate with length.