Red Bordeaux Blend

Château Lynch-Bages

Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend 2000

David T
9.5

The 2000 is delicious but, it is evolving at a glacial pace. Out of magnum.

On the nose, touch of barnyard, glycerin, ripe; blackberries, dark cherries, black raspberries, plum, strawberries & cherries. Vanilla, dry clay, limestone, river stones, just a touch of pyrazines & bandaid, dark,,turned, moist earth, dry grass and dry & fresh dark florals.

The body is full, round & sexy. Dry softened, sweet tannins. ripe; blackberries, dark cherries, black raspberries, plum, strawberries & cherries. Vanilla, dry clay, limestone, river stones, just a touch of pyrazines & bandaid, fresh tobacco leaf, saddle-wood, dry underbrush, dark, turned, moist earth, dry grass and dry & fresh dark florals. The acidity is magnificent. The structure, tension, length and balance are sensational. The finish is drop dead gorgeous. I’d still hold mine another 5 years as long as you have 3-4 bottles for more 5 year increments.

Photos of, their Estate vines, Clyde Beffa-Owner of K&L Wine Merchants, Owner of Chateau Lynch Bages - Jean-Michel Cazes, guests of the dinner and a sunset view from their Estate.

Producer notes and history...Lynch Bages takes its name from the local area where the Chateau is located in Bages. The vineyard of what was to become Lynch Bages was established and then expanded by the Dejean family who sold it in 1728 to Pierre Drouillard.

In 1749, Drouillard bequeathed the estate to his daughter Elizabeth, the wife of Thomas Lynch. This is how the estate came to belong to the Lynch family, where it remained for seventy-five years and received the name Lynch Bages. However, it was not always known under that name.

For a while the wines were sold under the name of Jurine Bages. In fact, when the estate was Classified in the 1855 Classification of the Medoc, the wines were selling under the name of Chateau Jurine Bages. That is because the property was owned at the time by a Swiss wine merchant, Sebastien Jurine.

In 1862, the property was sold to the Cayrou brothers who restored the estate’s name to Chateau Lynch family.

Around 1870, Lou Janou Cazes and his wife Angelique were living in Pauillac, close to Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron. It was here that Jean-Charles Cazes, the couple’s second son, was born in 1877.

In the 1930’s, Jean-Charles Cazes, who was already in charge of Les-Ormes-de-Pez in St. Estephe agreed to lease the vines of Lynch Bages. By that time, the Cazes family had history in Bordeaux dating back to the second half of the nineteenth century.

This agreement to take over Lynch Bages was good for both the owner and Jean Charles Cazes. Because, the vineyards had become dilapidated and were in need of expensive replanting, which was too expensive for the owner. However, for Cazes, this represented an opportunity, as he had the time, and the ability to manage Lynch Bages, but he lacked the funds to buy the vineyard.

Jean-Charles Cazes eventually purchased both properties on the eve of the Second World War. Lynch Bages and Les-Ormes-de-Pez have been run by the Cazes family ever since. In 1988, the Cazes family added to their holdings in Bordeaux when they purchased an estate in the Graves region, Chateau Villa Bel Air.

Around 1970, they increased their vineyards with the purchase of Haut-Bages Averous and Saussus. By the late 1990’s their holdings had expanded to nearly 100 hectares! Jean-Michel Cazes who had been employed as an engineer in Paris, joined the wine trade in 1973. In a short time, Jean Michel Cazes modernized everything at Lynch Bages.

He installed a new vat room, insulated the buildings, developing new technologies and equipment, built storage cellars, restored the loading areas and wine storehouses over the next fifteen years. During that time period, Jean Michel Cazes was the unofficial ambassador of not just the Left Bank, but all of Bordeaux. Jean Michel Cazes was one of the first Chateau owners to begin promoting their wine in China back in 1986.

Bages became the first wine sent into space, when a French astronaut carried a bottle of 1975 Lynch Bages with him on the joint American/French space flight!

Beginning in 1987, Jean-Michel Cazes joined the team at the insurance company AXA, who wanted to build an investment portfolio of quality vineyards in the Medoc, Pomerol, Sauternes, Portugal and Hungary.

Jean-Michel Cazes was named the director of the wine division and all the estates including of course, the neighboring, Second Growth, Chateau Pichon Baron.

June 1989 marked the inauguration of the new wine making facilities at Lynch Bages, which was on of their best vintages. 1989 also marked the debut of the Cordeillan- hotel and restaurant where Sofia and I had one of our best dinners ever. A few years after that, the Village de Bages with its shops was born.

The following year, in 1990, the estate began making white wine, Blanc de Lynch Bages. In 2001, the Cazes family company bought vineyards in the Rhone Valley in the Languedoc appellation, as well as in Australia and Portugal. They added to their holdings a few years later when they purchased a vineyard in Chateauneuf du Pape.

In 2006, Jean-Charles Cazes took over as the managing director of Chateau Lynch Bages. Jean-Michel Cazes continues to lead the wine and tourism division of the family’s activities. Due to their constant promotion in the Asian market, Chateau Lynch Bages remains one of the strongest brands in the Asian market, especially in China.

In 2017, Chateau Lynch Bages began a massive renovation and modernization, focusing on their wine making, and technical facilities. The project, headed by the noted architects Chien Chung Pei and Li Chung Pei, the sons of the famous architect that designed the glass pyramid for the Louvre in Paris as well as several other important buildings.

The project will be completed in 2019. This includes a new grape, reception center, gravity flow wine cellar and the vat rooms, which will house at least, 80 stainless steel vats in various sizes allowing for parcel by parcel vinification.

The new cellars will feature a glass roof, terraces with 360 degree views and completely modernized reception areas and offices. They are not seeing visitors until it’s completion.

In March, 2017, they purchased Chateau Haut Batailley from Françoise Des Brest Borie giving the Cazes family over 120 hectares of vines in Pauillac!

The 100 hectare vineyard of Lynch Bages is planted to 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The vineyard has a terroir of gravel, chalk and sand soils.

The vineyard can be divided into two main sections, with a large portion of the vines being planted close to the Chateau on the Bages plateau. At their peak, the vineyard reaches an elevation of 20 meters. The other section of the vineyard lies further north, with its key terroir placed on the Monferan plateau.

They also own vines in the far southwest of the appellation, next Chateau Pichon Lalande, on the St. Julien border, which can be used in the Grand Vin. The vineyard can be split into four main blocks, which can be further subdivided into 140 separate parcels.

The average age of the vines is about 30 years old. But they have old vines, some of which are close to 90 years old.

The vineyards are planted to a vine density of 9,000 vines per hectare. The average age of the vines is about 30 years old. But they have old vines, some of which are close to 90 years old.

Lynch Bages also six hectares of vine are reserved for the production of the white Bordeaux wine of Chateau Lynch Bages. Those vines are located to the west of the estate. They are planted to 53% Sauvignon Blanc, 32% Semillon and 15% Muscadelle. On average, those vines are about 20 years of age. Lynch Bages Blanc made its debut in 1990.

To produce the wine of Chateau Lynch Bages, vinification takes place 35 stainless steel vats that vary in size. Malolactic fermentation takes place in a combination of 30% French, oak barrels with the remainder taking place in tank.

The wine of Chateau Lynch Bages is aged in an average of 70% new, French oak barrels for between 12 and 15 months. Due to the appellation laws of Pauillac, the wine is sold as a generic AOC Bordeaux Blanc, because Pauillac does not allow for the plantings of white wine grapes.

For the vinification of their white, Bordeaux wine, Blanc de Lynch-Bages is vinified in a combination of 50% new, French oak barrels, 20% in one year old barrels and the remaining 30% is vinified in vats. The wine is aged on its lees for at least six months. The white wine is sold an AOC Bordeaux wine.

The annual production at Lynch Bages is close to 35,000 cases depending on the vintage.

The also make a 2nd wine, which was previously known as Chateau Chateau Haut Bages Averous. However, the estate changed its name to Echo de Lynch Bages beginning with the 2007 vintage. The estate recently added a third wine, Pauillac de Lynch-Bages.



— 8 days ago

Daniel, Garrick and 36 others liked this
David T

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@Dick Schinkel Thank you! Cheers! 🍷
Peggy Hadley

Peggy Hadley

OMG. Thanks for the novel. Great notes!
David T

David T Influencer Badge

@Peggy Hadley Thank you & sorry. I get a little carried away with Bordeaux producer history. Love their history, wines and the people that work so hard to make them.

Château Soutard Cadet

Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend 1989

David T
9.3

This wine out of magnum is just silly good with a Ribeye. Such a treat to drink old Bordeaux’s out of large formats. This was a recent purchase that was recently imported directly from the Chateau.

On the nose, leaner and slightly baked fruits with some funk. Ripe; blackberries, dark cherries, cherries, strawberries, hues of blueberries. Liqueur notes, cedar, tobacco, limestone, dry clay, used leather, dry stone, underbrush, light vanilla & clove and fresh & dry, bright red and dry dark florals.

The palate is medium with 85% resolved tannins. It beautiful, ripe & rich. It was an even tug of war between the wine & Ribeye. The fruits are ripe & slightly baked. Blackberries, dark cherries, plum, cherries, strawberries, hues of blueberries, rhubarb and dates/figs & raspberries. Liqueur notes, touch of Cognac, cola, cedar, tobacco, powdery limestone, dry clay, used leather, dry stones, crushed rocks, graphite, underbrush, light vanilla & clove, dark spice with heat and fresh & dry, bright red and dry dark florals. The acidity is wonderful. The long, well balanced is rich, ripe and lasts two-minutes.

Photos of; Chateau Soutard, their barrel room, dining room and a sunset view from the Chateau.

Producer notes and history...Chateau Soutard is one of the oldest estates in the Right Bank as it dates all the way back to 1513. Back then, the estate was a farm and mill. This was well before Soutard starting making Bordeaux wine. Chateau Soutard started to gain attention as a Saint Emilion vineyard in the middle of the 18th century.

It was during those early days that Chateau Soutard first began planting vineyards in rows. While it’s natural today, 300 years ago, it was not common on the Right Bank.

Chateau Soutard is one the largest and regal Chateaux’s in Saint Emilion. In fact, its one of the best Chateaux’s in the Medoc!

During the 20th century, Chateau Soutard was owned by the de Bogeron family. The de Bogeron family managed Chateau Soutard from 1890 until 2006. In 2006, Chateau Soutard went from being a family owned estate, to part of a large corporation when it was purchased by La Mondiale, the French insurance company. La Mondiale already owned other Chateaux’s in Bordeaux, Chateau Larmande and Chateau Grand Faurie.

La Mondiale began bringing the Estate up to date with a massive construction project. Until 2014, Chateau Soutard was managed by Claire Thomas Chenard with the help of world renown consultant Michel Rolland. With the addition of Michel, Claire Thomas Chenard is no longer with the estate.

The 30 hectare St. Emilion vineyard of Chateau Soutard is planted to 63% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Malbec. The vineyard has a terroir of limestone, clay and sandy soils with gentle hillside slopes on their best terroir.
The top soil is thin, before reaching hard limestone soil just before the surface.

The vines are on average, 35 years of age. The vineyard is planted to a vine density of 6,500 vines per hectare.

The wine is vinified in new stainless steel vats of various sizes. The wine is aged in an average of 60% new, French oak barrels for 18 months.

They also make a 2nd wine, Jardins de Soutard. In total, the Chateau makes about 7,000 cases of wine.

— 10 days ago

Shay, Julie and 12 others liked this

Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

Les Tourelles de Longueville Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend 2014

Medium garnet with cherry undertones. Currant, toasted oak, blackberry cobbler, and damp moss on the nose. The second wine of a second growth, this absolutely possesses the class and structure of much more expensive cousins, without the ageability. Bright cherries, sweet blueberry, vanilla, and oak dominate the palate. Made to drink now, a lovely Bordeaux. — 2 days ago

Trixie, Kevin and 3 others liked this

Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)

Duluc de Branaire-Ducru Red Bordeaux Blend 2003

A very generous gift from @Benjamin Keator ...this is in a really awesome place and drinks well beyond its years. Nose shows a classic Bordeaux nose of just a hint of brett, raspberry and black cherry. But the entry is VERY youthful fruit and a powerful pepper and beef jerky finish that lasts for about a minute or so. This wine is right in the window of perfection right now. Has almost a savory finish about it. I personally dont think this one will appreciate much more in bottle. Really nice bottle. — 2 days ago

Eric, Isaac and 10 others liked this
Shay A

Shay A Influencer Badge Premium Badge

Agreed. A really nice wine.

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

Le Petit Caillou St. Julien Red Bordeaux Blend 2010

Very profound nose which reminded me of a couple of bottles I had of clos du marquis. I said saint Julien but wasn’t sure. Blackcurrant, coffee, meat, tea... different layers. I was pretty sure at that point that it was a grand cru classé... the palate is not that wide and powerful. I thought then grand cru classé but in a small recent year. 2011 or 2013. The palate was evolving around an acid backbone with fine tannins and a lovely yet discreet fruit. Moderately long finish with fruit, coffee again and a pinch of salt. I finally went for haut marbuzet 2011. I was far away from it! Always trust a first impression. Superb nose, palate a bit under delivering when the nose raises such expectations. Overall lovely and well done. — 8 days ago

Amr, John and 4 others liked this

Château Palmer

Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend

This was showing thinner than I expected. Light read with noticeable bricking on the rim. Bottle and cork were in perfect shape. Expected more. Not a bad bottle just didn’t have the depth of fruit and secondary’s I was expecting. Good not great. — 2 days ago

Eric, Shay and 6 others liked this

Château Lynch-Bages

Echo de Lynch-Bages Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend 2014

On the eve of Fathers Day I opened the 2014 Echo de Lynch Bages. The blend is 73% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Merlot.

The nose has opulent dark fruit, black cherry, blackberry, big in the black currant, licorice, tobacco, violet and dark rich soil.

On the palate the dark fruit continues through with black cherry, blackberry, raspberry, black currant, tar licorice, graphite and fresh tolled soil.

The wine is medium to full bodied with medium + acidity and medium + grippy tannins that has a crisp lively long finish. An enjoyable wine that is approachable now but can use some more time in the bottle. Continue being safe and Happy Fathers Day to every father out there. Nostrovia! 🍷🍷🍷🍷
— 2 days ago

Ken, Shay and 18 others liked this

Clos René

Pomerol Red Bordeaux Blend 1998

Top vintage Pom @ £68 that’s drinking nice as long as you love oak 😁 Well integrated with silky tannins but oak dominates - for money there are better less oaky options 😉 One to drink up now 👍

🏵 90-91 points

🍷 Opaque ruby w/ brick edge

👃 Rich burnt oak w/ minerals drowning dark sludgy plum & berry in a damp musty cellar w/ soot, soggy earth, herbs & baked prune

👄 Med body of creamy silk smooth oak dominated dark chewy plum & berry fruits w/ a mocha cream & mineral kick

🎯 Med+ creamy dark fruits bathed in oak w/ a burnt liquorice & mocha linger
— 20 hours ago

Chris, Scott and 16 others liked this

Château Figeac

St. Émilion Red Bordeaux Blend 2015

I 💗 Figeac & as one of the top wines of 2015, that I paid £110 for but now £200+ as it’s a 98-100 pointer, I couldn’t wait to pop one 😊

This is drinking superb young & will indeed be a superstar 😍

🏵 96 points w/ 98+ potential

🍇 43% Cab S, 29% Merlot & 28% Cab F

🍷 Opaque deep purple ruby

👃 Heady deep rich blackcurrant & dark plum w/ soft oak, red liquorice, cocoa cream butter, rock minerals, minty herbs & soggy earth - Bordeaux nasal sex

👄 Med+ body of silky creamy plump oozy blackcurrant & dark bursting plums through cocoa, violets & minerals w/ a touch of raspberry liquorice

🎯 Long mineral infused, touch dry, black fruit bomb w/ a cocoa tickle
— 3 days ago

Chris, Keith and 32 others liked this

Château Lafite Rothschild

Carruades de Lafite Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend 2003

David T
9.1

On the nose, ripe; blackberries, sweet & sour dark cherries, cooked cherries & strawberries & hues of blueberries. Black tea, cola, soft baking spices; vanilla, light clove & cinnamon. Crushed rocks, stones, limestone, turned, moist black earth, tobacco leaf, saddle-wood, soft leather, dry & fresh dark red florals.

The body is medium edging toward full. The tannins pretty well resolved. The ripe fruits show the hot, ripe vintage. Blackberries, sweet & sour dark cherries, cooked cherries & strawberries & hues of blueberries black tea, cola, soft baking spices; vanilla, light clove & cinnamon. Crushed rocks, stones, limestone, tobacco with ash, some graphite, soft medium dark spice, turned, forest floor, powdery but edgy minerals, saddle-wood, soft leather, dry & fresh dark red florals with some violets on the finish.

This showed better with Ribeye. The Ribeye brought out a fuller, richer wine with even more complexity. 9.35-9.4 with the Ribeye. It just missed 9.2 on its own. It’s big brother the 03 “Lafite” is 💯 point Parker wine.

Photos of; Chateau Lafite, their oak vat fermenters, Estate wine and their magnificent barrel room.

Interesting history and producers notes...Lafite Rothschild has a long and interesting history dating back to 1234, even though the property was not in the Bordeaux wine business at that time.

It is has been largely believed that vines were already planted on their terroir. The owner of the estate at the time, Gombaud de Lafite left his mark, his name. Almost 1,000 years after he owned it, the Chateau is still named after him! The vines were probably in existence at Lafite for over a century, it was not until around 1680, the majority of vineyards of what we know of as Lafite Rothschild today were created. This is because on the 1680 estate manifest, there are six mentions of their Bordeaux vineyards. Jacques de Segur, earns credit for cultivating the vineyard as I wrote in my Colon Segur post last weekend. In 1695, Alexandre de Segur married Marie-Therese de Clauzel, heiress to Chateau Latour. So to dovetail that write up, within a generation, the Segur family married into two of the greatest Bordeaux vineyards, Chateau Lafite and Chateau Latour! When their son, Nicolas-Alexandre passed away, Chateau Lafite and Chateau Latour were separated.

In 1797, Chateau Lafite was sold again. In the deed of sale, Chateau Lafite was described as a Premier Cru of Medoc. This is one of the earliest mentions of what we know of today as Lafite Rothschild producing wines of what would later be classified as an 1855 First Growth.

At that time, of Lafite were managed by the Goudal family. The Goudal family were wine historians and were able to read accurate records and details of the viticulture and marketing plans for Chateau Lafite in the estates formative years. The Goudal family gets the credit for creating the cellar and saving many of the oldest bottles that remain in the cold, dark cellars, including their oldest bottle, the 1797 Lafite!

The start of the famous Rothschild family begins in 1744, with the birth of Amschel Meyer. Amschel Meyer began creating his fortune while working as a merchant at “Zum Roten Schild,” which eventually became the family name of Rothschild.

In 1798 his sons were sent to various cities to create their fortunes. Needless to say, his sons all prospered as did their children in turn. This eventually led to them wanting to own a Chateau in Bordeaux. So in 1853, Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild, an English member of the Rothschild family, purchased Chateau Brane-Mouton. As was the custom of the day, the new owner renamed it using his name and Chateau Mouton Rothschild was born.

This was followed in 1868, when James Rothschild, another member of the family purchased Chateau Lafite, which was now a coveted First Growth.

On 8 August, 1868, Baron James d’Rothschild purchased Chateau Lafite, which was sold at a public auction in Paris. It’s assumed, he bought the property for family competitive reasons looking to one up his brother, the owner of Mouton Rothschild. At that time, Mouton Rothschild was only a Second Growth at the time. But, that does not paint the entire picture. The 1855 Classification had not taken on the importance associated with it the we see it today. Plus, buying Lafite was a reasonable investment as the vineyard sold for about 8 times its earning potential.

The actual Chateau is one of the older structures in Bordeaux, as part of the building dates back to the later part of the 16th century. In 1868, the vineyard took up 135 hectares, of which 74 hectares were cultivated with vines. Production was much smaller in those days than it is today as it was between 4,000 and 5,000 cases.

Just three months after the purchase, Baron James d’Rothschild passed away and Chateau Lafite Rothschild became the joint property of his three sons; Alphonse Rothschild, Gustave Rothschild & Edmond Rothschild. Since 1868, Chateau Lafite Rothschild has remained in the hands of the of Rothschild family. The new owners renamed the estate Chateau Lafite Rothschild.

Jumping ahead to the modern age, in 1962, the Rothschild family added to their holdings when they purchased Chateau Duhart-Milon, a Fourth Growth vineyard also located in Pauillac. It was owned by the Casteja family for more than a century, Chateau Duhart Milon suffered from neglect and was in a awful condition. By the time Duhart Milon was obtained by the Rothschild family, the vineyard was down to only 17 hectare which required extensive renovations.

Baron Eric Rothschild, nephew of Baron Elie Rothschild, took over the management of Lafite Rothschild in 1974. Baron Eric Rothschild was part of the fifth Rothschild generation to inherit Chateau Lafite Rothschild. In 1984, the Rothschild family added to their holdings in Bordeaux with the purchase of Chateau Rieussec in Sauternes.

1987 was a difficult vintage, but because that was the year Lafite celebrated the inauguration of their wine new cellar, they had a lot to be excited about.

The new cellars were built under the supervision of Catalan architect Ricartdo Bofill, is both underground and circular, with a vault supported by 16 columns, giving the structure a majestic architectural style. The cellar holds 2,200 barrels, which is about 55,000 cases of wine. The construction took two years to finish and was completed in 1988.

Domaines Baron Rothschild became one of the first Bordeaux properties to invest in South America when they purchased Vina Los Vascos from a Chilean family. The owners of Lafite Rothschild continued expanding their holdings with the purchase of Chateau lEvangile in Pomerol from the Ducasse family, who owned the property for almost 100 years.

The wine making at Chateau Lafite Rothschild was managed by Charles Chevallier, who began his position in 1994. Charles Chevallier was replaced by Eric Kohler in January 2016. 2017 saw another change at the estate when Jean Guillaume Prats replaced Christopher Salin as the President of Domaines Baron Rothschild.

Perhaps, it’s the most refined of the First Growth. The wine, like all First Growth’s takes decades to mature. It has remarkable staying powers. Bottles of 1870 Lafite Rothschild discovered in the Glamis castle remain profound at more than 140 years of age! It is consider by many Master Sommeliers to be the best wine in the world.

Chateau Lafite Rothschild is one of the earliest major Bordeaux estates to bottle their own wine. In 1890, they bottled a large portion of the wine and again in 1906. Part of the estate bottling was due to requests from Negociants who were willing to pay more for Chateau bottled wines. Also, bottling was primarily done to combat piracy. At the time, it was known that merchants in some countries, like Russia were bottling cheap wine and placing labels from Lafite Rothschild on the bottles. The Koch’s famous Jefferson bottles were not the first attempt at counterfeiting.

Prior to 1996, some would say the property had its share of ups and downs. The 1960’s and 1970’s were not great for Chateau Lafite Rothschild. But since 1996, Lafite Rothschild has been producing some of the best wine in their history!

Sadly, only the wealthy can afford to purchase it. Price aside, there is no denying the level of quality. In 2003 Lafite Rothschild produced a wine that is possibly unequaled by the estate at any time in their long history. Hence, my purchase of their 03 second wine. 2009, 2010 and 2016 are not far behind.

Starting in about 2008, Lafite Rothschild became the most collectible wine from Bordeaux. Prices exploded due to demand from China as Chinese businessmen bought them as gifts or bribes depending on you look at it.

The reason this started was Lafite Rothschild paid for product placement on the number one rated Chinese soap opera on television. Characters in that show were pictured enjoying life with Lafite Rothschild and since then demand went through the roof as did priced.

However, Issac Newton had it right when he declared “What goes up, must come down.” Prices for Lafite Rothschild plummeted after 2011. By the difficult 2013, prices were finally starting to hold firm, but many of the vintages that were setting price records on a daily basis had lost close to 50% of their value.

Starting with the 2012 vintage, Chateau Lafite Rothschild began instituting anti-counterfeiting measures. From 2012 forward, to help fight, rampant counterfeiting, the estate places a seal of authenticity on the capsules of both Lafite Rothschild and Carruades de Lafite. The seal features a unique, numbered code that can be checked on their website, to verify if the wine is real.

The 112 hectare vineyard of Chateau Lafite Rothschild is planted to 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. This shows a slight change in the vineyard.

While Cabernet Sauvignon remained at 70%, today there is slightly more Merlot, less Cabernet Franc and the Petit Verdot has been added since the mid 1990’s.

Located in the far north of the Pauillac appellation, only the small, Jalle de Breuil stream separates the vineyards from St. Estephe. You could divide the vineyards of Chateau Lafite Rothschild into three sections with 100 separate parcels in all. The estate has close to 50 hectares of vines located close to the Chateau, on both sides of the D2, which offers gentle rises in elevations of up to 27 meters. They also have about 50 hectares vines planted on the plateau in the Carruades sector, where they have two blocks of vines, one of which is inside the vineyard of Chateau Mouton Rothschild. It is interesting to note that even though the parcels in the Carruades sector give their name to the second wine of the estate, those vines are almost always placed in the Grand Vin.

There are also vines adjacent to, and interspersed with the vineyards of Chateau Duhart Milon. The property also consists of a smaller, 4.5 hectare parcel of vines located in the Saint Estephe appellation, “La Caillava”. The vines in St. Estephe are situated not that far from Cos d Estournel, which are located on a larger a parcel known as Blanquet. The vines in Saint Estephe are allowed to be placed into the wine of Chateau Lafite Rothschild because those vines were used to produce Lafite in 1885, at the time of the classification. The vineyards are close to their famous neighbor Mouton Rothschild.

Located just south of the Chateau, the best terroir of Lafite Rothschild has a thick layer of gravel with sand, clay, marl and limestone in the soils with rolling, gravel slopes. The gravel can be as deep as 4 meters in some parcels.
It is important to note that even though their vineyards are in the far north of Pauillac, most of the soil is pure gravel, rocks and stones. With more than 50% of the soil consisting of gravel, that is a large part of the reason Lafite Rothschild has such elegant, feminine textures and that coveted sensation of minerality.

On average, the vines are close to 40 years of age. However, Chateau Lafite Rothschild has much older vines. In fact, they have some vines that are more than 100 years of age planted in the La Graviere section. That small parcel of Merlot vines dates back to 1886. Less than 1% of the vines are that old.
Additionally, they have a small section of Cabernet Sauvignon that dates back to 1922! Other old vines range from 50 to 90 years of age! They also maintain some of the oldest Petit Verdot vines in the Medoc that was planted in the early 1930’s.

At Chateau Lafite Rothschild, between 1% to 1.5% of the vineyard is replanted every year. Vines less than 20 years of age are never included in the Grand Vin.

The vineyard of Chateau Lafite Rothschild is planted to a vine density that ranges from 7,500 to 8,500 vines per hectare. Only organic fertilizers are used in the vineyards of Lafite Rothschild.

During harvest, the goal is not to pick at the maximum level of ripeness. Instead, they are seeking a blend of grapes at differing levels of maturity, which gives the wine its unique textures, freshness, aromatic complexities and elegant sensations.

Lafite Rothschild is the largest of the First Growth vineyards with close to 112 hectares of vines. A large portion of the estate is taken up with stunningly, beautiful landscaping, lakes, trees and parkland.

At one point in time, Chateau Lafite Rothschild produced a dry white, Bordeaux wine that was sold as Vin de Chateau Lafite. The wine was produced from a large percentage of Semillon, blended with a small amount of Sauvignon Blanc. The last vintage for their white wine was 1960. The wine was sold as a generic AOC Bordeaux blanc with a simple, scripted label, black and white label.

Lafite vinification takes place in 66 vats that are a combination of 29 wood vats, 20 stainless steel tanks and 17 concrete vats that range in size from as small as 45 hectoliters up to 123 hectoliters in the concrete and as large as 270 hectoliters for the wood. The wide range of vat sizes coupled with different materials allow Chateau Lafite Rothschild to vinify depending on the needs of each specific parcel and grape variety. The stainless steel tanks and oak vats are used for Cabernet Sauvignon. The Merlot is vinified in the concrete tanks. Malolactic fermentation occurs in smaller, stainless steel tanks that vary in size from 25 hectoliters up to 60 hectoliters. At this point, Chateau Lafite Rothschild does not yet use gravity to move the fruit and juice in the cellar. It’s a good bet that a remodel is coming soon.

The average annual production of Chateau Lafite Rothschild ranges from 15,000 to 20,000 cases of wine per year, depending on the vintage. They of course make this second wine, Carruades de Lafite, which due to the name and association with the Grand Cru, has also become extremely collectible. Carruades de Lafite takes its name from a specific section of their vineyard that is located near Mouton Rothschild. Carruades is actually one of the older second wines in Bordeaux, as it was first produced in the mid 1850’s. About 100 years later during the mid 1960s, the estate reintroduced their second wine naming it Moulin de Carruades. The name was changed again in the 1980’s to Carruades de Lafite.

There is also a third wine which is sold as an AOC Pauillac that is produced from declassified fruit from Lafite Rothschild and Duhart-Milon.

The blend for Chateau Lafite Rothschild changes with each vintage depending on the character and quality of the vintage. Generally speaking, the amount of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend ranges from 80% to 95%. Merlot is usually 5% to 20%. Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot usually varies from 0 to 5%.

— 22 days ago

Jason, Shay and 21 others liked this
Severn Goodwin

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Nice notes, my scrolling finger needs some rest now.
James Forsyth

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Fabulous note and information.
David T

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@James Forsyth Thank you James. I appreciate your note. As much as I love Bordeaux, I love their history. As well, producers who put everything into making great wine for those of us that love it.