Château Lafite Rothschild

Owned by Baron Eric de Rothschild and Lafite Rothschild, Château Lafite Rothschild is one of the most renowned wine properties in the Médoc region. It is also one of the region’s largest estates.

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The History

The vineyards of Château Lafite Rothschild are found at the northern tip of the Pauillac appellation, just below the St. Estephe boundary. Evidence of an early estate dates all the way back to the 14th century, with exports of wine from the region into the United Kingdom in the early 17th century.

The Rothschilds, of the famous banking dynasty, bought the property in 1866. For many years, though, the Rothschilds’ command of Lafite was exercised at a distance. That changed after the Second World War, with the current owner Eric de Rothschild. He presided over an extensive investment programme of both vineyard and cellar.

Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the vineyard (71%) due to a largely gravel base. The balance is comprised of Merlot (25%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (1%). The grapes are hand-harvested and vinified parcel by parcel. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats and later run off into barrels - this is 100% new for Lafite itself, a mixture of new and one-year-old barrels for the second wine.

The Grand Vin volume can vary largely according to the vintage, but it is typically less than half of the total crop.

Throughout the 20th Century, Lafite was plagued with periods of inconsistency. Some years, Lafite was sublime, while other years produced a substandard product. In 1994, though, Charles Chevallier took control of the estate and has brought about an admirable level of consistency. Some of the truly brilliant wines produced under Chevallier’s leadership have even fought for the title of “Wine of the Vintage”.

Lafite wines have a perfumed elegance and finesse, which is a sharp contrast to the masculine power and structure of Latour of the exotic and intense flavours of Mouton. These wines represent a hedonistic experience for the consumer and has the ability to age, in great years, for a minimum of 50 years.

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