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Lafite Rothschild 2005

Subregion France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pauillac
Grape VarietyCabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

View all vintages of this wine | View all wines by Château Lafite Rothschild


Tasting Notes

Having tasted the 2005 Château Lafite-Rothschild several times both blind and non-blind, it comes across as a First Growth politely requesting more time to "settle". Here, from an ex-château bottle tasted in Bordeaux, it delivers that graphite, pencil-box bouquet that unfurls gradually in the glass, biding its time, graceful but not intense. Parallel to some of its fellow 2005s, it is developing a little more spice, namely thyme and sage, than I recall. The palate is medium-bodied and beautifully balanced, to wit, a sophisticated Pauillac that priorities elegance and poise over intensity of fruit—in keeping with Lafite Rothschild's style. You come away with the sense that it will take its time and decline, giving away a great deal in its primacy, even if it is still more approachable than the 2005 Latour for example. Therefore, I would be inclined to set this aside for several more years. Tasted November 2014.

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate, July 2016

Beautiful, elegant red, blue and black fruits (89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Merlot) as well as some graphite and spice notes jump from the glass of the 2005 Lafite Rothschild. Medium-bodied, with superb purity and texture, this is not a blockbuster by any means, but a meticulously made, lovely-textured Pauillac. Long and pure, this wine should drink well for 25-30 years. There is no danger in pulling the cork on it today. Drink 2015-2045.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (219), June 2015
James Suckling, WineSpectator.com, February 2008

The 2005 Lafite is a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Merlot. Deep garnet-brick in color, it slips sensuously from the glass with eager-to-please scents of creme de cassis, Christmas cake, and cedar chest, giving way to hints of Indian spices, sweaty leather, and pencil shavings. The mineral-laced, medium-bodied palate is elegant and shimmery, delivering firm tannins and a soft-spoken finish. Delivering a mature, wonderfully evocative experience now, it is well within its drinking window and should cellar to 2045+. At this time the estate was managed by Baron Eric de Rothschild and Charles Chevallier was technical director.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent, July 2022

Waves of saffron, truffle, black tea and earth set the pace for a remarkably balanced and aromatically-complex wine. This is still a baby at 17 years old, but has reached the level of Lafite character when all is elegance and finesse - the perfect example of how in Bordeaux they don't need excess to deliver something extraordinary. As things relax, you get a luscious, more concentrated core of cassis and bilberry fruit, with cedar, charcoal, violet, raspberry leaf and slate. Fine tannins hold it all in place, you could give this a long carafe to drink now, but the real magic needs another decade or so. Charles Chevallier technical director, and this was the last year with Emile Peynaud as consultant, before Jacques Boissenot took over in 2006. A pair of scales was chosen to decorate the bottle neck to reflect the balance of the vintage.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, September 2022

Tasted blind. Biscuity and ethereal at the same time. Not concentrated. Thick and chewy. A tad stodgy at this stage. Needs SO much time…!
Drink 2025-2050

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, March 2017

Bright medium ruby. Knockout nose combines black- and redcurrant, minerals, graphite, licorice and lavender. Wonderfully suave and seamless, but with great purity and precision of flavor and terrific inner-palate perfume and lift. This dances over every square millimeter of the palate. Almost painfully young today, with an impression of fresh acidity serving to intensify the wine's flavors. About as austere a wine as I tasted from this vintage in April and yet it's not hard. Finishes with substantial dusty tannins and a whiplash of minerally perfume. I'd forget about this one for about 15 years.

Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, June 2008

Black velvety red, colour sticking to the glass, superb fragrance and intensity, concentrated ripeness, immense depth but overall an impression of fragrance and elegance, a perfect wine. Drink 2015-50.

Steven Spurrier, Decanter.com, April 2006

Superb, classic claret nose. Very classy, blackcurrant. Fresh, ripe, well defined. Balanced. I love it. Probably not that expensive. Drink from 2013. Awarded 3 stars.

Decanter.com, Decanter.com, July 2008

Fourth out of 184 wines

-, Southwold Bordeaux Tasting, January 2009
Read more tasting notes...

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, Wine Advocate (176), April 2008

Made in an ethereal style, the 2005 Lafite is composed of nearly 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, just under 11% Merlot, and a tiny fraction of Petit Verdot (representing only 40% of the total harvest). It is a deep, structured, linear style of Lafite Rothschild that is in total contrast to the opulence and extravagant richness of the 2003 and the bold, dramatic power of the 2000. The dense ruby/plum/purple-tinged 2005 offers up scents of graphite, flowers, crushed rocks, and loads of berry fruit. Medium-bodied and sweet with high tannin, it represents the quintessentially elegant style of Bordeaux. Another brilliant effort made under the auspices of administrator Charles Chevalier, it should be at its finest between 2015-2050+.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (170), April 2007

The 2005 Lafite is a lighter-styled effort than I expected, but of course, this estate is renowned for its delicacy and finesse. After the world-beating, off-the-charts 2003, which is a modern-day clone of the 1959, the 2005 seems pretty and restrained, but very noble as one would expect. Remarkably, the alcohol is actually higher in 2005 than in 2003, topping out at 13+%. The final blend was 88.8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10.7% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot. Production represented only 40% of the harvest. The wine’s dark plum/ruby/purple color is followed by Lafite’s tell-tale aromas of lead pencil shavings intermixed with flowers, minerals, sweet berries, and black currants. Medium-bodied, quintessentially elegant and finesse-styled with high but ripe tannin, it is an impeccably pure, exceptionally well-made effort. Despite its obvious charm, my instincts suggest it will shut down after bottling. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2050+.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (164), April 2006

The Château Lafite-Rothschild 2005 has that telltale pencil-shaving bouquet that is wonderfully defined with red berry fruit moving gracefully towards secondary notes of mint, Seville orange marmalade and leather. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, utterly graceful in the mouth, classic in style with a gradual build towards the pencil-lead finish that contains enormous persistence. This is not a powerful Lafite-Rothschild - there is no need. Graceful and elegant, this is an intellectual, sophisticated Pauillac that will age for an extraordinarily long time. If you can splash the cash, why not? Drink 2020 - 2060.

Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, February 2015

Fabulous aromas of currant, tobacco, mineral and cedar with licorice undertones. Muscular wine with firm yet velvety tannins. Full-bodied, with lots of fruit yet reserved and long. Wonderful balance yet plenty of strength. Extremely well-toned and long. 2000 again?

James Suckling, WineSpectator.com, March 2006

The sticker on the bottle suggests this came from Asia. Really very haunting nose: complex already, high toned, rich fruit in the middle and a dry finish. Everything that top red bordeaux should be in fact. A lightly marine-iodine thread. Racy and not at all heavy but I bet it will last forever. There are tannins but they are very fine. 13%
Drink 2018-2050

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, February 2015

Slightly severe note on the nose then extremely opulent and fleshy. Hint of strawberry fruit and all in balance with a refreshing dry finish. Very clean, fresh nose. Wonderful length and refreshing complexity.

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, February 2009

Extremely complex and intriguing on the nose. More lifted than Duhart Milon and Carruades. Very fine-boned and minerally - graphite sensation (although there is no Cabernet Franc in the final blend). Delicate - which is quite an achievement in 2005! Very subtle and very youthful. Wonderful opulence with a neat, dry finish. A gorgeous drink that may be overlooked in comparison with Latour's greater drama but a very fine representation of both château and vintage, with, I suspect, a very long window of drinkability. Drink 2018-40?

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2006
Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.