Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2003
• Domaine: Château Lafite-Rothschild
• Appellation: Pauillac
• Classification: First Growth, 1èr Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
Baron Eric de Rothschild, chairman of Domaines Barons de Rothschild (DBR), described Château Lafite Rothschild as a viticultural tour de force with the power to, “turn bare earth into heaven.” After managing the portfolio of family wine estates for 42 years and overseeing significant expansion across the globe (including new vineyards in Chile, Argentina, and China), Baron de Rothschild transitioned the leadership of the family business to his daughter, Saskia de Rothschild, in 2017. The château has been owned by the same branch of the Rothschild family since 1868. 2018 marks the family's 150th anniversary as owners. With over 150 years steeped in rich history, Lafite Rothschild is a place where man and nature work together in perfect harmony to produce wine that continues to captivate wine drinkers around the globe.
The late American president Thomas Jefferson was reported to have visited the estate and been a lifelong consumer of its great wines. As a President, he had a penchant for the finer things in life and spent $10,000 on his wines one year -- that's the equivalent of 1 million dollars today. A hefty amount of that purchase consisted of wines from Château Lafite Rothschild and the other great First Growth, Château Haut Brion. Naturally, his extravagent lifestyle led him into debt and towards the end of his life he was practicaly penniless. His biggest regret? That he couldn't drink the wines from Château Lafite Rothschild anymore.
Lafite Rothschild has an illustrious past, with references to its exalted wines that date back to as early as 1234. The chateau rose to prominence in the 17th century, largely due to contributions of Marquis Nicolas Alexandre de Ségur. Known as, “The Wine Prince,” the Marquis de Ségur improved the viticultural techniques at Lafite and introduced the wines to royalty at the court of Versailles. The excellence of the wine was undeniable, and soon Lafite Rothschild’s Grand Vin became known as the wine of kings.
Lafite Rothschild cemented its reputation when it was recognized as one of the First Growths of the 1855 Classification, earning it much-deserved prestige on a global scale. As the years progressed, new innovations improved the viticultural process on the estate. Dairy cows were introduced to organically fertilize the property, and the estate built its own cooperage for making barrels to age the wines to perfection. At Lafite Rothschild, tradition marries artistic innovation and the result is great wine for generations.
The wines of Lafite Rothschild possess an excellence that transcends beyond their pedigree. The strength of these wines lies in their versatility. They are fresh, vibrant, and drinkable even when they are young and deviate from the more austere Bordeaux style that favors raw power. With that in consideration, these wines have the potential to evolve beautifully for decades to come.
"The 2003 Lafite Rothschild comes as close to perfection as any of the great Lafites made over the past three decades (1982, 1986, 1996, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010). This sensational effort came in at 12.7% natural alcohol, it is made in the style of one of this estate’s great classics, the 1959. Composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it exhibits a dense ruby/purple color to the rim along with a luxurious bouquet of cedarwood, lead pencil shaving, white chocolate, cocoa and cassis. Fat, rich, opulent and full-bodied with low acidity and stunning seductiveness and complexity, this noble wine possesses a bountiful, generous, heady style. It is just coming into its plateau of maturity where it should hold for 20-25 years. This is one of the candidates for the wine of the vintage – make no mistake about that.
These are two great successes in this vintage that have aged well and surprised me by their intensity and overall complexity." - Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate (8/27/2014, Issue 214), Ratings: 100, Drink: 2014-2039
"A modern day version of the 1959 Lafite, the 2003 Lafite Rothschild was bottled in mid-May, 2005 after achieving 12.9% natural alcohol – hardly an astonishing figure given the vintage’s weather conditions. A combination of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot, it represents a ripe version of the essence of Lafite-Rothschild. Dense purple-colored, with classic notes of graphite intertwined with melted licorice, creme de cassis, smoke, and flowers, it reveals extraordinary richness, opulence, power, purity, intensity, and viscosity. Whether this wine will close down or not is questionable as it is somewhat atypical given its sweetness and softness. Analytically, there are extremely high tannins, which I suspect will assert themselves in the future. Production in 2003 was less than half of normal. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2050." - Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate (4/23/2006, Issue 164), Ratings: 100, Drink: 2010-2050
Technical Notes: 2003 will always be a memorable vintage due to the heatwave in the Bordeaux region and in the country generally. A two-week period spell of scorching heat suddenly arrived in August, with temperatures rising above 40°C.
Rainfall was very low throughout the vines’ cycle (555 mm between October 2002 and September 2003, compared to an average of 850 mm) but the soil remained relatively cool and the vines did not suffer from a lack of water. Our work in the vineyard had to be adapted to deal with these exceptional conditions. Leaf removal operations were thus reduced in order to protect the vines from the scalding effect of the heat.
Fortunately, water reserves in the soil and more moderate temperatures from the start of September enabled the ripening process to be completed. weather in 2003 saw an exceptional heat wave in the first half of August with temperatures exceeding 40°C, together with low rainfall throughout the growth cycle.
|Stock Status||In Stock|
|Brand||Château Lafite Rothschild|
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