2018 Château Lafite-Rothschild, 1er Cru Pauillac

Power and depth on the nose, cassis and blueberries. The 2018 is a brooding monster, with a touch of pot pourri and of volcanic stones. Such detailing and layers, touch of herbs but also so much red liquorice. It’s fine and silky, and such intensity and complexity. Keeps unfurling, floral delicacy, saline and iodine high points, ensuring this remains savoury and layered. A perfect wine?

Critic score
98/100

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WINE DETAILS

  • Region & country
    Pauillac, Médoc, Bordeaux, France
  • Grape
    91% Cabernet Sauvignon
    8.5% Merlot
    0.5% Petit Verdot
  • Maturity
    Young 2028 - 2060
  • Colour
    Red
  • Sweetness
    Dry
  • Style
    Still
  • Unit Volume
    Bottle (75cl.)
  • Classification
    Premier Cru
2018 Château Lafite-Rothschild, 1er Cru Pauillac

TASTING NOTES

The 2018 Lafite Rothschild is blended of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot and has 13.3% alcohol. The Merlot was harvested September 17-24, the Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested September 25 to October 5, and the Cabernet Franc was harvested on September 24. It has a deep purple-black color and then WOW—what a nose. It comes sashaying out of the glass with bags of grace and perfume, revealing notions of lilacs, red roses, fragrant soil, cinnamon stick and Morello cherries with a core of blackcurrant cordial, fresh black plums, redcurrant jelly and tapenade plus a waft of iron ore. Medium-bodied, the palate has wonderful, tightly wound layers of black, red and blue fruits intermingled with floral, earth and mineral notions and a rock-solid frame of the most finely pixelated tannins you can possibly imagine. Anyone who wants to see what I mean when I babble about the Lafite tannins needs to try this benchmark. The finish goes on, and on, and on. If this wine doesn’t get Bordeaux lovers hearts' racing, nothing will.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (April 2019)
(98—100)/100

This is silky and delicious and juicy, not something you can often say about a Lafite En Primeur sample but before you even get close to tasting the wine you can feel the layers building. It has the precision, the freshness and the sense of effortless elegance that Lafite always conveys with lots of power and depth, deep black fruits on the nose and a mix of spices from rosemary to saffron on the palate. Is it better than the 2016? It’s hard to say at this stage but it certainly feels its equal, although differently constructed and unlikely to take as long to come around - think 10 rather than 14 years before reaching its drinking window. It's worth adding that very few wines have been so unmarked by the extremes of the vintage, or as technical director Eric Kohler puts it; 'Even after 25 years of working at Lafite I continue to be full of admiration for this terroir. Other plots that we own reacted to the heat at times, but Lafite just kept sailing on as usual'.

Jane Anson, Decanter (April 2019)
99/100

A very compact and linear Lafite with a fantastic mouthfeel of intense but ever so refined tannins that draw a straight line through the middle of the wine. It’s full-bodied yet compact with complex character of plums, blackcurrants, cigar tobacco, cedar and hints of hazelnuts and coffee. Salty. Orange zest at the end. Delicacy with power. Richness with softness. Glamorous. Lasts for minutes at the finish.

James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (April 2019)
99—100/100

The 2018 Lafite-Rothschild is creamy, sensual and inviting, with lovely purity of fruit and impeccable balance. Dark cherry, plum, licorice and spice are some of the many nuances that develop. Time in the glass brings out striking aromatic depth and overall persistence. Although an undeniably attractive wine, the 2018 does not appear to have the sheer pedigree of the very best wines in this vintage. None of the three samples I tasted were as impressive as I had hoped for. Perhaps I had bad luck. Time will tell. The blend is 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot.

Antonio Galloni, vinous.com (April 2019)
(93—96)/100
Château Lafite-Rothschild

Château Lafite is surely one of the most evocative and sought-after names in the fine wine world, coveted for its finesse and ability to age for half a century or more.

The estate is ideally situated on the northern edge of Pauillac an appellation in the Médoc notable for containing two of the four wines classified as First Growths in 1855. Wine has been made here for significantly longer, with records dating back to the 13th century, even Thomas Jefferson stocked his cellars with Château Lafite.

Today, still owned by the Rothschild family. Lafite owns one of the largest parcels of vines in the region – around 107 hectares. The majority is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), followed by Merlot (25%) and then much smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (2%). Lafite also makes a much-loved second wine, Carruades de Lafite.

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