Lafite Rothschild 2017


Lafite is one of the greatest wines of Bordeaux and particularly popular with Chinese wine buyers. It was one of the four Chateaux originally classed as "First Growths" in 1855 and has been owned by the Rothschild dynasty since 1868. The vineyards are situated in the Northern sector of Pauillac near to Saint Estèphe. Recent changes have seen the arrival of Jean-Guillaume Prats who previously ran Cos d'Estournel so well and then managed the overseas wine interests of the giant LVMH group.

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Tasting Notes

The 2017 Lafite-Rothschild had been blended in mid-March, a couple of weeks prior to my visit, therefore it was important to let this settle and aerate. Moreover, I returned on my final day in Bordeaux mid-April for a second reading. It feels very aloof at first, even a little green, although that ebbs away with time in the glass to reveal pure blackberry and bilberry fruit, touches of brine, cedar and graphite. Patience discloses a really quite sublime array of aromas. The palate is where all the action is: filigree tannin, very well judged acidity, harmonious and poised with a silky smooth finish that glides across the mouth. It does not possess enormous length but it is very precise and, for want of a better, less clichéd word, classic from start to finish. Tasted twice with consistent notes. Drink 2023 - 2050.

Score: 95/97Neal Martin,, May 2018

Composed of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon with 3.5% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Lafite Rothschild is a little shy on the nose to begin, opening out to scents of crushed blackcurrants, black cherries and warm black plums with touches of yeast extract, charcuterie, cigar box and fertile loam plus a hint of iron ore. POW—the paradoxically ethereal, medium-bodied palate hits you with vibrant, exhilarating black fruit and previously latent floral layers, supported with fantastic freshness and super fine-grained, pixelated tannins, finishing with persistent mineral and perfumed layers. Truly Stunning.

Score: 97/99Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (236), April 2018

This is very tight and tannic with lots of blackcurrant and sweet-tobacco character. Firm and powerful tannin texture sets this up for a long and chewy finish, yet it remains very compact and polished. It's a wine that possesses all the hallmarks of Lafite — everything from flavors to structure.

Score: 97/98James Suckling,, April 2018

The 2017 Lafite-Rothschild is gorgeous. Silky, nuanced and polished, the 2017 captures all the finesse that makes Lafite such a vaunted property. Even in this unusual vintage, Lafite retains its super classic flavor profile, shape and personality. And that is one of the signatures of truly great sites. Like many of his colleagues, Technical Director Eric Kolher opted for gentle extractions and incorporated a relatively high amount of press wine (16%) into the blend. Those are merely details, though, because the 2017 Lafite is stellar. It also has the potential to be the most complete of the First Growths.

Score: 94/97Antonio Galloni, (236), May 2018

Inky crimson. Dark, savoury black fruit, a little understated in aroma. On the palate, could do with just a little more flesh. It's balanced and not overdone on the tannins but not the standout first growth this year. Elegant but rather underwhelming, perhaps lacking the sweetness and mid-palate depth of Merlot. Tannins very fine. Fresh and really quite soft, textural finesse but rather understated fruit. Savoury graphite finish.
Drink 2027-2040

Score: 17Julia Harding MW,, April 2018

The 2017 vintage is strongly Cabernet Sauvignon with 96 % in the final blend with 3.5% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot. A medium-deep ruby colour in the glass, there is great purity to this elegant, refined nose of pure cassis. With a little air wafts of sweet vanilla and savoury nutmeg come through, but much of the complexity is subsumed underneath structure at this early stage. This follows on the palate with very polished and fine-grained tannins gently supporting a dense and compact core of black fruit. This is all about poise and balance, with the fruit driving through to a long finish. It is only at the finish that the wine reveals its full potential, with creamy vanilla and fleshier black fruits lingering long after the wine has gone. This is subtle, refined, and harmonious.

Score: 17+Farr Vintners, April 2018

Spring violets the nose has fragrance and freshness the palate starts with bramble and bilberry. Mid generosity the mid palate has a rich mix of black fruits the back palate ripe black cherry lighter on the finish length purity elegance. Drink 2027 - 2042.

Score: 90/95Derek Smedley MW,, May 2018

This is delicious, a real take-a-step-back moment. There's a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon here, complex and layered with cassis and bilberry notes that tease the attack before being filled out with charcoal, slate, cedar, and even truffle hints, even at this early stage. The finish just doesn't want to quit. It's effortless but questioning, and most importantly it feels like a Lafite - for me this is a contender for red wine of the vintage. Less intense than 2016, but still just beautiful. 40hl/ha yield, unaffected by frost, or maybe just one tiny corner. 99% new oak. 3.75pH.
Drinking Window 2027 - 2045

Score: 98Jane Anson,, April 2018

This is a very quiet and closed Lafite, with tannin and oak blocking the entry. The fruit is compact, very long but gruffly uncommunicative and this is an infuriating wine to taste now. I waited a full half an hour in order to agitate this wine into conversation and it was still stubbornly refusing to cooperate. This is a lean, controlled, introverted wine, as Lafite often is, but it also hints at something fascinating behind the veneer, and I cannot quite get a glimpse of what there is hidden therein. It will blossom, as always, but I am not going to guess at just how demonstrative this vintage will be in the future because there is an outside chance that it will just continue on its current path, quietly evolving and making little fuss.

Score: 18.5+Matthew Jukes, Matthew Jukes' Blog, April 2018

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.