2008 Los Vascos Grande Reserve
There are names in the wine world that have become legendary, names synonymous with dynasties and sacred properties that inspire a sense of reverence due to their singular commitment from generation to generation. In short, estates that are a far cry from your run-of-the-mill 'wine farms'. One of these is Lafite Rothschild.
Today its centuries old Chateau is surrounded by a 110 hectare plot in Pauillac that refuses to court publicity (it hasn't had to) and remains staunchly traditional. The house even maintains its own cooperage (one of only four Chateaux in Bordeaux to do so, and the only one that makes 100% of its own requirements). The sheer quality of the terroir combined with total control over every aspect of production guarantees part of their success. The rest is testament to the brazen economies of the Bordelaise.
Lafite's Cabernet heavy cuvee now starts at around AU$1400/bottle, with more acclaimed vintages such as 2005 and 2000 reaching upwards of AU$2500. Even the second wine of the estate, Carruades de Lafite, is rarely sold under AU$500 – if you can find it. Given these extraordinary numbers a reticence to change is understandable. Yet for all Lafite's tradition and grandeur, this operation has not fenced itself behind golden bars. Success with a single terroir and the demand to diversify has pressed home the challenge to emulate present glory.
Over the last thirty years, Domaines Barons de Rothschild, have made strategic acquisitions around the globe, selecting specific sites that they believe possess the characteristics required to produce exciting New World wines with Lafite Rothschild's unique First Growth stamp. The new projects have not been entered into hastily or in any spirit of 'experimentation'. They are now well underway in Chile and Argentina, with a pedigree of wines selling at disproportionate prices. If you can afford to drink Chateau Lafite on a regular basis, you might want to stop reading here (or browse our current premium Bordeaux offerings ). These wines are not yet a fair point for comparison. Having said that, there is a Bordelaise elegance to Lafite's South American reds, and in certain wines the Bordeaux influence is profound - not surprising given the historical forces at play. In Chile, the classic Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet and Merlot are still dominant, while Malbec has become Argentina's signature red. As Lafite's projects have matured, so the quality of their wines has improved, particularly those at the premium end (read $20+). They do drive home a pertinent point - "If on the other side of the planet, the same winemaking team are using the same varieties and the same barrels as the First Growth itself, what price per bottle is terroir really worth?"
If the pricing is at first incomprehensible, particularly given the common winemaking, cooperage and pedigree, it is partly because the 'value' of terroir is a knotty topic, complicated by history, obscured by marketing, while being vindicated by science all at the same time. Simple arithmetic can draw this conclusion: Choosing one terroir over another, you frequently multiply your pleasure many times over for the same outlay. Several of the wines on offer here are a case in point. Readers may recall our past shipments of Vina Los Vascos and Nicolas Catena over the last four years and the incredible value that they have offered. We are again fortunate to be dealing with Lafite's Americano-French joint venture, so re-introducing these bargains to Australian wine lovers.
Los Vascos’ Grande Reserve is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Carmenere, 10% Syrah and 5% Malbec that is matured for 12 months in French oak. Opaque black dark crimson red colour with deep dark crimson red hue. Lifted aromas of black cherry, cedar and tobacco followed by some cigar box, cloves and spice. Medium to full bodied possessing excellent richness the palate displays flavours of ripe blackcurrant, tobacco and cedar followed by a touch of earth and a spicy back palate. Very fine grained perfectly balanced tannin structure. Excellent depth and persistence with long aftertaste of blackcurrant, spicy tobacco and cedar.
Cellar 4-5 years (20115-2016)