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2017 Chateau Lafite Rothschild
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- Closure: Cork
Often seen as the most elegant of the First Growth wines, Chateau Lafite Rothschild has long been considered one of the greatest wines from not only Bordeaux, but from anywhere in the world. Prices too reflect its status as the most collectable wine in Bordeaux, spurred on since 2008 when it ruled the Chinese fine wine market.
While the vineyards are planted to 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot, each year the proportions vary according to the vintage, normally with Cabernet Sauvignon accounting for 80-90% of the blend.
Composed of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon with 3.5% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Lafite Rothschild is a little shy on the nose to begin, opening out to scents of crushed blackcurrants, black cherries and warm black plums with touches of yeast extract, charcuterie, cigar box and fertile loam plus a hint of iron ore. POW—the paradoxically ethereal, medium-bodied palate hits you with vibrant, exhilarating black fruit and previously latent floral layers, supported with fantastic freshness and super fine-grained, pixelated tannins, finishing with persistent mineral and perfumed layers. Truly. Stunning.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown - Wine Advocate #236 (April 2018)
This is very tight and tannic with lots of blackcurrant and sweet-tobacco character. Firm and powerful tannin texture sets this up for a long and chewy finish, yet it remains very compact and polished. It's a wine that possesses all the hallmarks of Lafite — everything from flavors to structure.
Firm and closed, this is a dark and dense wine. There are impressive tannins alongside juicy black plum flavors as well as great concentration. It is an exceptional wine, with the power you should expect from a Lafite. It is certain to age and will not be ready before 2025.
The 2017 Lafite-Rothschild had been blended in mid-March, a couple of weeks prior to my visit, therefore it was important to let this settle and aerate. Moreover, I returned on my final day in Bordeaux mid-April for a second reading. It feels very aloof at first, even a little green, although that ebbs away with time in the glass to reveal pure blackberry and bilberry fruit, touches of brine, cedar and graphite. Patience discloses a really quite sublime array of aromas. The palate is where all the action is: filigree tannin, very well judged acidity, harmonious and poised with a silky smooth finish that glides across the mouth. It does not possess enormous length but it is very precise and, for want of a better, less clichéd word, classic from start to finish. Tasted twice with consistent notes.
Neal Martin - Vinous
The 2017 Lafite-Rothschild is gorgeous. Silky, nuanced and polished, the 2017 captures all the finesse that makes Lafite such a vaunted property. Even in this unusual vintage, Lafite retains its super classic flavor profile, shape and personality. And that is one of the signatures of truly great sites. Like many of his colleagues, Technical Director Eric Kolher opted for gentle extractions and incorporated a relatively high amount of press wine (16%) into the blend. Those are merely details, though, because the 2017 Lafite is stellar. It also has the potential to be the most complete of the First Growths.
Antonio Galloni - Vinous
The 2017 Lafite-Rothschild is another classic wine from this estate that’s in the same mold as the 2015, if not slightly deeper, darker, and more concentrated. Made from almost all Cabernet Sauvignon and offering a gorgeous array of crème de cassis, lead pencil, graphite, and hints of minerality, it’s medium to full-bodied, pure, precise, and as refined and elegant as it gets. It has the supple, approachable style of the vintage and will be relatively approachable in its youth, yet will cruise for three decades on its balance and purity.