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2019 Lafon Rochet

2019 Lafon Rochet


Critic Reviews

Brilliant stuff, the 2019 Château Lafon-Rochet shows the best of the vintage with its pure, precise, elegant, yet at the same time concentrated style. Showing lots of ripe currant, plum, tobacco, Asian spice, and cedar pencil aromatics, it’s medium to full-bodied, has nicely integrated acidity, and just seamless tannins. It’s beautifully done and well worth seeking out. It’s going to evolve for 20-25+ years.

Jeb Dunnuck | 95 JD
This wine comes from an estate that is performing with distinction. It is rich, the tannins cushioned by ripe blackberry fruits and good acidity. Showing both structure and fruitiness, the wine will develop well, everything in balance. Drink from 2026.

Wine Enthusiast | 95 WE
Ripe and sleek, delivering cassis, damson plum, loganberry and mulberry notes that glisten, with iron, anise, black tea and savory accents. Offers lovely precision and poise, even as the fruit flirts with an exotic blend. Mouthwatering finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2023 through 2038. Tasted twice, with consistent notes.

Wine Spectator | 94 WS
Ripe blackcurrants and blackberries with hints of sweet tobacco, walnuts and dark chocolate. Medium-to full-bodied with firm, chewy tannins and lingering crushed-stone character. Firm finish with some nuttiness to it. Bold and solid, classic St.-Estephe. Try after 2026.

James Suckling | 94 JS
The 2019 Lafon-Rochet is tightly-wound on the nose, yet it seems delineated and focused, mineral-laden black fruit, sous-bois and dried tobacco scents unfurling in the glass. The palate is impressive with good concentration on the entry. This has an arching structure, fine acidity, off dry and slightly austere on the finish, but there is clearly the substance to ensure that it will age with style. Tasted blind at the Southwold annual tasting.

Vinous Media | 93 VM
A bit rustic and wild on the nose, in a good way, not savoury tones so much but brambles with cocoa powder, black pepper and spice - lots going on. The palate has a lovely soft but sumptuous aspect to it, rich fruit flavour with a deep core and soft tannins that settle giving a super comforting feeling. There is also a cooling effect in the mouth, refreshing and tinged with pencil led, wet stone and dark ripe fruits. A heady style but enjoyable with a sweet, lively lift at the finish. You could almost drink this now and enjoy the youthfulness or it will age gracefully.

Decanter | 93 DEC
The 2019 Lafon-Rochet has turned out nicely in bottle, mingling aromas of blackberries and red fruits with hints of violets and pencil shavings. Medium to full-bodied, deep and seamless, with lively acids and ripe, powdery tannins, it’s a bright, precise wine, with plenty of depth and structure to support sustained bottle age, but with enough modern polish to temper any suggestion of structural asperity.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 92 RP
A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc, the 2019 Lafon-Rochet is deep garnet-purple in color. It is quite closed to begin, revealing glimpses at blackcurrant jelly, fresh blackberries, and dark chocolate hints, followed by wafts of roses, cedar, and cumin seed. The medium-bodied palate is muscular and densely laden with serious black fruit and earthy layers, framed by firm, grainy tannins and seamless freshness, finishing with a spicy lift.

The Wine Independent | 92 TWI

Wine Details for 2019 Lafon Rochet

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.

Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.

For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.

France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.

France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.

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 Left Bank


Producer Chateau Lafon-Rochet : What we recognize as Chateau Lafon Rochet today was founded in 1650 when Antoinette de Guillemotte bought the land of Rochette as her dowry to her husband, Pierre de Lafon. Shortly after the marriage, the two changed the name of the chateau. Following the custom of the day and uniting the previous name of Chateau Rochet and Lafon; Chateau Lafon Rochet was born.

Unlike most other Bordeaux properties which were confiscated during the French Revolution, Lafon Rochet was not. The Left Bank estate would remain in the same family for more than two centuries. Unfortunately, as the family line continued downward so did their enthusiasm for the property, allowing it to fall into disrepair.

The modern era would come in 1959 and with it the resurrection of the estate’s quality and reputation. The Tesseron family, with the understanding of the extensive work needing done as the property had fallen into a dilapidated state, purchased the Saint Estephe estate with the intention of improving the vineyards and quality of wine. The Tesseron family, under the direction of Guy Tesseron, completely renovated Lafon Rochet from top to bottom.

The endeavor was overwhelming but so was Guy Tesseron’s ambition. Most of the original buildings were in terrible shape and could no longer be used. The 17-hectare vineyard was in extremely poor condition and needed replanting. Through replanting and subsequent purchases, the estate doubled in size, marking the true beginning of the modern era for Lafon Rochet.

Guy Tesseron had his work cut out for him but began the renovations in 1960 with vigor. Because the winemaking facilities were in such poor condition, Tesseron commissioned the building of all new facilities, including the chateau itself. In irony, Chateau Lafon Rochet was classified a Fourth Growth in the 1855 Classification of the Medoc but was constructed in the 20th century.

Not only were the vineyards in dire need of replanting, the existing grape varieties were planted in the wrong soils. Merlot was planted in gravel, and the Cabernets in clay. The process of unifying the correct varietal with soil is still undergoing to this day. But this explains why the wine of Lafon is so much better today and is only increasing in quality.

Multiple generation of the Tesseron family would continue to enhance the property in their own way. Under the tutelage of Michel, an aesthetic touch to the chateau was implemented by painting it a bright yellow, which he insists is an artistic statement. Basile Tesseron, who speaks fluent English and has previous experience working with negociants, worked to expand the brand name. Eventually, after generations of loyal care to the family estate, Lafon Rochet was sold to Jacky Lorenzetti in September of 2021.

Today, 38 hectares are under vine and planted to 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. These varietals combined, produce 10,000 cases of Lafon Rochet annually. On average the vines are 37 years of age; however, some of the oldest parcels have vines that were planted back in 1938. The correct varietals are still being rectified and planted in their optimal soil type. The terroir is mostly gravel, clay, sand, limestone and marl soils. The best parcels are found in a mix of deep gravel and clay. Interestingly, what makes their terroir so unique is that some of the clay in the vineyard is the same type of blue clay found in Pomerol at Chateau Petrus.

The story of Lafon Rochet is enthralling in a sense that it has been resuscitated and is continuing its journey towards being one of the greater wines in Saint Estephe. The Tesseron family is to be greatly credited to its revivification. Jacky Lorenzetti, who is an experienced vineyard owner is continuing its elevation of reputation and popularity. The story of Lafon Rochet is one of great redemption.

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