Dark ruby color, ripe black currants, violets and vanilla, spicy, oaky scents. The wine has great finesse and a particular softness imparted by the Merlot. It tends to be firm yet delicate and supple, great elegance develops with age.
The vineyard was at one time owned by Alexander de Segur, proprietor of Châteaux Latour and Calon Segur. Lafite became public property in 1794, after the owner (the President of the Parliament of Guyenne) had been guillotined in the Revolution. After changing hands a few more times, the Rothschild family acquired the property when it was put up for auction in 1868 and remain the owners today. The second label of Lafite Rothschild is Carruades de Lafite.
| Wine Advocate 100 points (Apr 1999)
Tasted three times since bottling, the 1996 Lafite-Rothschild is unquestionably this renowned estate’s greatest wine. As I indicated last year, only 38% of the crop was deemed grand enough to be put into the final blend, which is atypically high in Cabernet Sauvignon (83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot). This massive wine may be the biggest, largest-scaled Lafite I have ever tasted. It will require many years to come around, so I suspect all of us past the age of fifty might want to give serious consideration as to whether we should be laying away multiple cases of this wine. It is also the first Lafite-Rothschild to be put into a new engraved bottle (designed to prevent fraudulent imitations). The wine exhibits a thick-looking, ruby/purple color, and a knock-out nose of lead pencil, minerals, flowers, and black currant scents. Extremely powerful and full-bodied, with remarkable complexity for such a young wine, this huge Lafite is oozing with extract and richness, yet has managed to preserve its quintessentially elegant personality. This wine is even richer than it was prior to bottling. It should unquestionably last for 40-50 years. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2050. The wine of the vintage?
|Wine maker notes
|70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot. Average age of the vines is 44 years. Replanting of these vines takes place in lots. 222 acres producing 22,000-30,000 cases.