1996 Ch Lafite Rothschild 1er Cru Pauillac

NGN 4,628,321

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Tasting Notes

Robert Parker,
October 2016, Score: 98/100

The 1996 Lafite-Rothschild was remarkably deep in color considering that it is now 20 years in age. The bouquet is classic Pauillac with pencil shavings and sous-bois infusing the black fruit, masculine and a little aloof, yet focused and very well delineated. The palate is very well balanced with crisp blackberry and boysenberry fruit, spicier than I recollect, a crescendo of flavors so that it seems understated at first but fans out with a sense of confidence towards the finish. I think this still has more to give so cellar it away for another 5-8 years if you can, but otherwise this is an exemplary Lafite-Rothschild that I can envisage getting better and better in bottle, if not quite as enthralling as either Mouton-Rothschild or Château Margaux. Tasted July 2016. 98/100

Robert Parker,
April 1997,
Score: 91-93

Only 38% of the crop was utilized for this wine. It appears to be a quintessentially elegant Lafite, with more Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend than usual. The final blend contains 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. The wine exhibits a dark purple color, distinctive liquefied mineral, red and blackcurrant, and spicy oak aromas, medium body, fine concentration, superb delineation, and an intellectually challenging aspect to its personality. Neither a blockbuster such as Latour, nor as flamboyant as Mouton-Rothschild can be, Lafite is a stylish, elegant, harmonious wine that is somewhat more powerful and tannic than usual. Patience, a word frequently used with respect to the 1996 northern Medocs, is required! Anticipated maturity: 2012-2035.

Robert Parker,
February 1998,
Score: 94-96

This is an extraordinary Lafite-Rothschild, possibly the chateau’s finest wine since the 1986 and 1982, but it will test purchasers’ patience given its backwardness. Only 38% percent of the crop was deemed good enough to use in the final blend, which comprises 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. The wine boasts an opaque purple color, as well as a fabulous nose of tobacco, lead pencil, minerals, and red and black currant fruit. On the palate, this is a powerful Lafite, yet it has not lost any of its quintessential elegant personality. Medium to full-bodied, with outstanding ripeness, layers of fruit, high tannin (sweet rather than astringent), and an exceptionally long, well-balanced finish, this wine will require a minimum of 10-15 years of cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2040.

Robert Parker,
April 1999,
Score: 100

Tasted three times since bottling, the 1996 Lafite-Rothschild is unquestionably this renowned estate’s greatest wine. As I indicated last year, only 38% of the crop was deemed grand enough to be put into the final blend, which is atypically high in Cabernet Sauvignon (83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot). This massive wine may be the biggest, largest-scaled Lafite I have ever tasted. It will require many years to come around, so I suspect all of us past the age of fifty might want to give serious consideration as to whether we should be laying away multiple cases of this wine. It is also the first Lafite-Rothschild to be put into a new engraved bottle (designed to prevent fraudulent imitations). The wine exhibits a thick-looking, ruby/purple color, and a knock-out nose of lead pencil, minerals, flowers, and black currant scents. Extremely powerful and full-bodied, with remarkable complexity for such a young wine, this huge Lafite is oozing with extract and richness, yet has managed to preserve its quintessentially elegant personality. This wine is even richer than it was prior to bottling. It should unquestionably last for 40-50 years. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2050. The wine of the vintage?

Clive Coates,
June 2001,
Score: 19.5/20

Very full colour. Marvellous nose. Reallyprofound and complex fruit. Great class.Great harmony. Full body. Tannic. Reallygood grip. Really excellent finish. Backward.The best of the premiers crus.Drink 2010-2040

Producer

Château Lafite Rothschild

One peek into Château Lafite’s cellar is like entering into the 18th century. Its cobweb-coveredchandeliers subtly light shadowy corridors that play host to hundreds of ancient vintages. Nothing could be more representative of its wine making philosophy – classic, stylish and yet powerful – characteristics that have made it one of the most collectible wines in the world.

Region

Pauillac, Red Bordeaux

Due south of St Estèphe lies the appellation of Pauillac, the king of Left Bank communes. It is home to three first growths as well as a plethora of other classified growths. Pauillac’s renowned well-draining, gravelly soils enable its dominant grape Cabernet Sauvignon to reach fantastic heights of complexity and concentration. As a result, Pauilac’s wines tend to be full-bodied with compact tannins and good freshness. Its aromatics are often what one associates with classic Bordeaux: pencil shavings, black currant and occasional mint. Some of the most famous châteaux of the commune are Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild, Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande and Lynch Bages.

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