Château Lafite Rothschild 2021
• Domaine: Château Lafite-Rothschild
• Appellation: Pauillac
• Classification: First Growth, 1èr Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
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.
Technical Notes from Lafite Team
Back to the Roots
Romain Gary said that “renewal has always been first and foremost a return to the roots.” There couldn’t have been a finer revelation this year, from what we know how to grow best on the mythical plateau of Lafite: great Cabernets which have, without a doubt, dominated the tastings from the écoulages. Freshness and density were already there, in a balancing act that we have grown used to from our great terroirs. This year, they are the ones who spoke their voice more clearly than ever. The dice were therefore loaded against the Merlots from the start, and they paled in comparison: only half a vat from Pointon Gravette, a plot on our legendary Carruades plateau, went into the blend. A first wine with almost 100% Cabernet.
Blend: Cabernet Sauvignon 96%, Merlot 3%, Petit Verdot 1%
Budburst: 31 March
Mid-Flowering: 6 June
Mid-Véraison: 9 August
Harvest: from 22 September to 8 October
"A brilliant wine that shares some similarities with the formidable 1996, the 2021 Lafite Rothschild wafts from the glass with inviting aromas of dark berries, cigar box, loamy soil, black truffle and violets. Medium to full-bodied, deep and layered, it's rich and concentrated, with beautifully powdery tannins, lively acids and a long, saline finish. Of course, this isn't as dramatic as the 2020 or 2019 out of the gates, but the 2021 is a brilliant success in its own right. What's more, its structure and balance mean that it is likely to prove almost immortal. It's a blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, which is one of the all-time highest percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon chez Lafite." - William Kelley, The Wine Advocate (4/29/2022) Rating: 95-97
"The 2021 Lafite-Rothschild casts an imposing presence. Black fruit, sage, menthol, licorice and incense give Lafite its dark, almost somber, personality. Cabernet Sauvignon is dialed up, and that very much comes through in the wine's flavor profile and overall feel. The tannins are quite prominent at this stage. In some ways, the 2021 reminds me of the 1996, but with the greater delineation found in today's wines. I can't wait to see how it ages. The 2021 is one of the stars of the Left Bank. Its longevity will ultimately be dictated by storage conditions more than anything having to do with the wine itself. - Antonio Galloni, Vinous (5/2022) Rating: 95-97, Drink: 2031-2081
"The 2021 Lafite-Rothschild, which was aged in 90% new oak, has a deep, almost opaque hue. This has quite an arresting bouquet with dense blackberry, sous-bois and pencil box scents, quintessential Lafite aromas with nuanced floral scents surfacing with time. The palate is medium-bodied, though with more weight than you would expect given the growing season. The Cabernet Sauvignon imparts graphite and almost briny elements into the aromatic profile. Sapid and classic in style, head winemaker Eric Kohler suggests that it is a return to the style of Lafite-Rothschild of the nineties in terms of freshness. I concur. - Neal Martin, Vinous (5/2022) Rating: 95-97, Drink: 2030-2070
"Deep in colour, has grip and presence. Loganberry, blueberry, wet stones, hawthorn, forest floor, this is a long-ageing Lafite, not one that I would rush to open. It delivers tannic power from beginning to end, with density and juice and length, a reminder that Lafite manages to perform strongly in so many different styles of vintage. Delivering right at the very top of Pauillac. 1st year organic conversion. 90% new oak. No frost at the estate, yields of 34hl/h, harvest September 22 to October 8. 40% 1st wine." Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux (4/7/2022), Rating: 97, Drink: 2028-2044
"I loved the Grand Vin 2021 Château Lafite-Rothschild, and if anyone is going to excel in a cooler, elegant vintage like 2021, it will be Château Lafite. Based on 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot, is has a brilliant perfume of pure crème de cassis, spring flowers, graphite, gravelly earth, and sandalwood, which will turn toward more classic Lafite cedar pencil with age. Medium-bodied on the palate, it has supple, elegant, yet substantial tannins, great balance, and a beautiful finish. Like most wines from this estate, it has a classy, regal, incredibly impressive style." - Jeb Dunnuck, (6/2/2022) Rating: 94-96
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