2005 Lafite Rothschild

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2005-lafite-rothschild
 

Wine Critic Reviews for 2005 Lafite Rothschild

An incredible nose, so subtle with red fruits, mint, minerals, and all sorts of flowers give way to Cohiba cigar tobacco. The palate has such freshness and density, with perfectly polished tannins. Slightly leathery, like a wonderful Hermes bag. What a wine, please leave this for another ten years. Pull the cork in 2020. 10% Merlot. Find the wine

James Suckling | 100 JS
A wine worthy of superlatives, the 2005 Lafite showed incredible concentration yet a superb balance. The lovely blackcurrant and plum fruit shows a fragrant floral edge, hints of oak spice, and a firm, earthy underpinning. The texture is superbly elegant, with a lovely freshness and a lilting, silky finish, yet it does not lack a tannic grip, and the finish is satisfyingly long. Near perfection. A blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot with just a drop of Petit Verdot, aged in new casks. (Drink between 2021-2040)

Decanter | 99 DEC
This wine is initially dense, almost thick enough to be cut with a knife. But then it becomes apparent that this is beautifully integrated and balanced, bringing together power, with the hallmark Lafite style and poise. In the end, you have a wine that promises an impressive aging potential along with delicious black currant fruits, acidity and a layer of striking tannins. Imported by Domaines Barons de Rothschild and multiple U.S. importers.

Wine Enthusiast | 99 WE
Lafite is the most elegant of the firsts in 2005; it also may be the most romantic. The wine's heady scent of new oak rises in harmony with the succulent red fruit. Then the tannins come on with a gentle roar, layering the perception of flavors in subtle shadings. There's not a trace of the hyperintensity that so many young 2005s wear as if required for their longevity. The stones of Lafite grow something more numinous than that, a wine with the power to strike an emotional chord through taste. This will be one of the longest lived wines of 2005. Diageo Château & Estate Wines, NY

Wine & Spirits | 98 W&S
Delivers blackberry, dried porcini, tobacco and licorice aromas. Full-bodied, with layers of velvety tannins and loads of dark chocolate, cigar box, currant, berry and mineral. The finish is long, with a coffee, almost meaty, aftertaste. Very beautiful and balanced. Best after 2013.

Wine Spectator | 98 WS
The 2005 Lafite-Rothschild is a gorgeous wine, but it is also very young. Readers lucky enough to own it will find a very classic, gracious Lafite-Rothschild that still needs a few years to be at its best. Bright red-toned fruit, crushed rocks, mint and licorice open first, followed by darker aromas and flavors that develop as the wine gains volume with air. Tasted next to its peers, Lafite is so typical of itself and less marked by the year. And that is one of the signs of a truly great terroir. Lafite-Rothschild is not as showy as many other wines in this vintage, but it is so true to its own identity, and that is the highest compliment I can pay it. The 2005 is 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, done in 100% new oak, which is not at all noticeable. At the time, the Cabernet percentage was quite high, but that has now become the norm. Tasted two times.

Antonio Galloni | 97 AG
While the 2005 is another brilliantly classic Lafite Rothschild, for my taste, it comes in slightly behind their extraordinarily opulent 2003 as well as the dramatically powerful 2000. A blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Merlot, the 2005 boasts a dark ruby/purple color in addition to that exceptional Lafite perfume of graphite, spring flowers, crushed rocks, and sweet black cherry and black currant fruit that exudes class and nobility. The wine is medium-bodied with extremely high levels of tannin in addition to sensational purity, length, and overall harmony. However, it is exceptionally backward, and even more tannic than either the 1995 or 1996. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2050+.

Robert Parker | 96+ RP

Wine Details on 2005 Lafite Rothschild

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Producer Chateau Lafite Rothschild: In the farthest northern corner of Pauillac, a stone’s throw from the appellation of Saint Estephe, resides a wine estate of great renown, with exceptional terroir and a truly magical allure.  Its superb qualities have been written about for centuries, portrayed in modern day films and has been considered the greatest wine on earth by wine professionals and enthusiasts alike.  Truly, the world of wine would not be what it is today without the existence of one of the greatest estates in the world:  Chateau Lafite Rothschild wines are simply paramount.

Hailing from the greatest appellation (Pauillac) in the most respected and important (arguably) region in the world, Bordeaux; Lafite has been a symbol of excellence since its inception.  Over the course of its very long, rich and interesting history, Chateau Lafite has become one of the most successful, admired and sought after wines in the world.  Its prominence is known the world over; however, an estate does not reach the apex overnight.

The legend of Lafite dates back to the year 1234, with the first mention of Gombaud de Lafite, abbot of the Vertheuil Monastery and feudal lord of the eponymous fief, Lafite (meaning “hillock” in the Gascon language).  At the time of the Lafite fiefdom, most of the property was used for harvesting grain and crops for cattle.  When the Segur family acquired the property in the 17th Century, it is most likely had existing grape vineyards.  However, Jacques de Segur is credited with the planting of the first Lafite vineyards in the 1670s, organizing the vineyards and earning the estate a great reputation by the late 1690s.  Jacques de Segur’s heir Alexandre, married the heiress of Chateau Latour, who gave birth to Nicolas-Alexandre de Segur, thus joining the two fiefs (chateaux) and beginning their histories together.

Chateau Lafite’s first market appearance occurred in the official London Gazette in 1707, where it was being sold at public auction, after being seized by British corsairs, as well as the British Royal Navy.  The wine and its counterparts were described as “New French Clarets”.  Afterward, the Prime Minister of Britain, purchased a barrel of Lafite every three months.  This affair, only propelled the legend of Lafite only further.
Nicolas-Alexandre had consolidated Lafite’s initial success, improving winemaking techniques and above all, enhancing the prestige of the wines in the foreign markets.  He became known as “The Wine Prince” and Lafite’s wines, “The King of Wines”.  It became the subject of much discussion at Versailles, honored as it was by the king’s high approval.  By the time of his death, Nicolas-Alexandre had established a well-respected and world renowned estate.  It was considered a “Premier Cru of Medoc” by 1797 and would later be classified as a First Growth in the Official Classification of 1855.

In 1868, the now coveted First Growth was purchased by Baron James de Rothschild, placing it in the hands of one of the most successful and influential families in Europe.  Sadly, Baron James passed away just three months later, leaving the responsibility of the estate to his three sons.  As was the custom of the day, the heirs changed the name to Chateau Lafite Rothschild.  The estate has been handed down from generation to generation and remains in family hands to this day.

Today, Chateau Lafite Rothschild continues to command the attention of serious enthusiasts and collectors, producing one of the most collectible, investment grade wines in the world.  Lafite currently has 112 hectares under vine and is planted to 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.  It is important to note that the final blend is almost always close to 90% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Annual production ranges between 15,000 to 20,000 cases, depending on the vintage.  Lafite produces an elegant style of Pauillac, which shows qualities of cedar, cassis, tobacco, truffle, lead pencil and spice along with the freshness and purity of dark red fruits.  It is, perhaps, the most refined of the First Growths.  Rather than a show of power, Lafite focuses on its width of flavors and aromatic nuances.  The wine takes decades to mature and has remarkable staying powers.

Lafite is usually better after at least 15 years of bottle age and should reach its peak maturity between 15 and 60 years after the vintage.  The 1982 Lafite is still considered a baby and will age gracefully until 2074; a truly remarkable feat that has allowed the estate to be recognized as one of the greatest investments in the world.  A second wine is produced, Carruades de Lafite, taking its name from a specific section of their vineyard (Carruades Plateau) located near Chateau Mouton Rothschild.  Due to its name and its association with the Grand Cru, it too has become extremely collectible.  Carruades is one of the older second wines in Bordeaux, being first produced in the mid-1850s.  A third wine is also produced and is sold as an AOC (Appellation of Origin Controlled) Pauillac that is produced from declassified fruit from both Lafite and Duhart Milon (also owned by the Rothschild family).

The largest of the Fifth Growth estates (Lafite) is located in the far north of the Pauillac appellation, with only the small Jalle de Breuil stream separating the vineyards from the St. Estephe appellation.  Most of the soil is composed of deep gravel, mixed with Aeolian sand on a subsoil of tertiary limestone, well-drained and well-exposed to the sun.  This exceptional terroir is a large part of the reason Lafite has such elegant, feminine textures and that coveted sensation of minerality.
Chateau Lafite Rothschild wines are undoubtedly some of the finest creations on earth.  The estate has become the benchmark for wineries around the world.  Much like the wines, the Lafite name will continue to live on, pushing the entire wine industry towards greatness, simply by example.
Region Bordeaux: Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.

The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Subregion Pauillac
Country France: Words fail us when trying to adequately portray France's place in the world of wine. It's downright impossible to imagine what wine would feel and taste like had it not been for France's many, many viticultural pioneers. Fine wine is the blood of France's vigorously beating heart, and it finds itself in many aspects of French culture. With a viticultural history that dates all the way back to the 6th century BC, France now enjoys its position as the most famous and reputable wine region on the planet. If you have a burning passion for masterfully crafted, mouth-watering, mind-expanding wines, then regular visits to France are probably already in your schedule, and for a good reason.
Type of Wine Bordeaux Red: Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Varietal Red Bordeaux Blend: The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.

Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.

For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.

Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.

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