Performs the trick of being immediately succulent and mouthwatering while simultaneously revving up and building power through the palate. You're getting sapidity and savoury black fruits that are both elegant and full of power. The spicy rosemary and black pepper, with slate-textured minerality, is almost unnoticeable until it closes in on the final stretch, helping to stretch things out, beat by beat, adding energy and lift. One half of the 5% Merlot in this blend is from plots that have never before been used in Lafite's 1st wine, because their drone and satellite research discovered three tiny areas that were similar in character and could be vinified together. They have worked on this for the past three years, successfully so for first time in 2019. It just holds on tight, with a creaminess that you don't always find in Lafite at this early stage. A brilliant wine, one that could be upscored from this when in bottle. Harvest September 19 to October 7. Drinking Window 2029 - 2048.
Complex aromas of blackcurrants and lead pencil. Incredible. Graphite and tar. Stunning. It's full-bodied, yet shows such harmony and polish. Elegance and complexity with finesse. The tannins are so integrated and endless. It goes on for minutes. 94% cabernet sauvignon, 5% merlot and 1% petit verdot.
A truly great Lafite, and maybe the wine of the vintage, the 2019 Château Lafite-Rothschild reveals a deep purple color as well as an ultra-classic bouquet of crème de cassis, lead pencil, unsmoked tobacco, chocolate, and gravelly minerality. Deep, full-bodied, and flawlessly balanced, it's a magical, heavenly bottle of wine that's going to be approachable with just 5-6 years of bottle age yet evolve for 100 years or more. It reminds me of the 2016, only with a touch more sexiness and opulence.
The 2019 Lafite Rothschild is a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, harvested from the 19th of September to the 7th of October. Deep garnet-purple in color, it rolls effortlessly out of the glass with compelling notions of baked black cherries, ripe blackberries and crème de cassis followed by hints of mocha, licorice, smoked meats and Sichuan pepper with a waft of eucalyptus. Medium-bodied, the palate is at once ethereally graceful and powerfully intense, featuring layer upon layer of profound smoky, savory flavors and decadently ripe fruit, framed by exquisite, silt-like tannins and just enough freshness, finishing with epic length. In terms of flavor profile, this is a surprisingly (atypically) hedonic, forward expression, with notably lower acidity/higher pH (the pH is 3.9). The alcohol is 13.4%, just a tick higher than the 2018 (13.3%). And yet, the tannins here are unmistakably Lafite, featuring all the tannic grace, finesse and densely pixilated poise fans will expect. What an exciting paradox for the palate-bravo!
The Wine Cellar
The 2019 Lafite-Rothschild was picked from 19 September with the Merlots, pausing during a rainy spell and then picked through to 7 October. The blend includes what Eric Kohler calls "outsider" parcels that met the grade, including some of the Merlot on more clayey soils (see introduction) as well as 13.5% vin de presse. Alcohol here is some half a degree lower than many of its peers at around 13.4%. It has a very sensual bouquet, not a common feature in this First Growth, with generous black fruit infused with pencil box, sous-bois and discrete white pepper aromas. The oak is beautifully subsumed by the fruit already. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent, rounded tannins that lend this Lafite its creamy femme fatale texture and disguise its backbone. More powerful than expected, this builds in the mouth towards an atypically corpulent, dense finish that seems to "flow" across the senses. There is not a single hair out of place. I can envisage this firming up during its élevage and deserving more bottle age than seemingly appropriate at this juncture. Whatever its drinking plateau turns out to be, it is certainly a wonderful Lafite-Rothschild that pips the 2018 and revels in the growing season.