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Lafite Rothschild 2020

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

Lafite is one of the greatest wines of Bordeaux and particularly popular with Chinese wine buyers. It was one of the four châteaux 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 in management 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. Quality seems to be back to the highest level under wine-maker Eric Kohler who took over in 2015.

Also available in the following mixed case:

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Tasting Notes

Amazing aromas here with tobacco, crushed stone, cigar box, currants, tar, and lead pencil, as well as spices, iron, and dried ginger. Medium- to full-bodied, with a density and tightness. Very compact and complex. Racy. Delicacy with strength. Orange peel undertones. A wine to contemplate. You must understand it to understand the great Lafites of the past and those of the future. Only 12.8% alcohol. 92% cabernet sauvignon, 7% merlot and 1% petit verdot. Best after 2030, but drink it if you have the chance taste it.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, May 2023

Looking at the Grand Vin, the 2020 Château Lafite-Rothschild is a sensational effort checking in as 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot that hit 12.8% natural alcohol and a pH of 3.94. As Lafite as Lafite gets, this ultra-classic reveals a dense ruby/plum hue as well as a tight, yet layered bouquet of ripe blackcurrants, smoked tobacco, freshly sharpened pencils, graphite, and subtle spice. Flawlessly balanced, deep, concentrated, and layered, it has an incredible mid-palate, building, perfect tannins, and a finish that leaves you salivating. Refined, elegant, and perfection are the buzz words here. Unfortunately, it's not for the instant gratification crowd, and I wouldn't be surprised to see this require 15 years to hit the early stages of its prime drinking window. It will probably hit its 100th birthday in fine form.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, March 2023

The 2020 Lafite Rothschild opens in the glass with a deep bouquet of cassis, black truffle, pencil shavings and violets. Full-bodied, fleshy and layered, its broad attack segues into an ample core of fruit framed by supple, melting tannins. Seamless, layered and complete, it's richer and deeper pitched than the 2019, and its notably high pH of 3.94 likely means it will never shut down. It's a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, incorporating just a touch more Merlot from the plateau of Carruades than the 2019. 2027 - 2055

William Kelley, Wine Advocate, April 2023

The 2020 Lafite-Rothschild, which contains the highest proportion of Merlot since the 2016, hit the bull's eye from barrel. Revisiting the wine in the bottle since July, it still bursts from the glass with copious blackberries, touches of blueberry and juniper, pencil lead and a hint of crushed stone. Wonderful delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with finely-chiseled tannins, quite linear and "correct" - a quintessential Lafite-Rothschild in many ways. It gently builds in the mouth while keeping a restraint on things, finishing with fine sapidity yet a little more juiciness than you would have found a decade or two earlier. This has the potential to evolve beautifully over several decades. Drink 2028-2065.

Neal Martin, vinous.com, February 2023

The 2020 Lafite Rothschild is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot, with a pH of 3.94. Deep garnet-purple in color, it slowly unfurls to offer very pure, intense scents of crushed blackcurrants, fresh plums, and blackberries, plus suggestions of violets, cinnamon stick, fertile loam, and tapenade with a touch of tar. The light-bodied palate is very tightly knit with many black fruit, mineral, and fragrant earth layers and a firm backbone of grainy tannins, finishing long and earthy. A bright, bright, shiny Lafite! It needs a good 12-15 years!

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent, March 2023

Delivers classic sculpted Lafite architecture, where everything builds slowly and carefully, step by step, nothing out of place. This is a delicious wine with pencil lead and crushed mint leaf from mid palate through to the close of play, elegant and understated power, brimming with estate signature. The tannins are elongated, finely balanced against the acidity, with slate scraping texture. Fine and long but with a ton of understated power, uncompromising. Eric Kohler technical director, 100% new oak.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, February 2023

The harvest here was completed by 29th September, yielding a final wine with a very modest 12.8% abv. The blend is typically Cabernet Sauvignon heavy at 92%, with 7% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. Deep ruby colour. Superb precision and refinement on the nose - full of cool blackcurrant fruit that is laced with fresh tobacco, cedar, camphor and pencil shavings. The palate follows, with all the fruit intensity required while retaining a savoury elegance. Driven with fantastic fruit deliniation, this is a wine of restrained power and depth. The rich tannic structure builds subtly, but brings a mouthcoating chewiness by the finish. This is long and refined with each element perfectly balanced and in place. A wine of unforced harmony.

Farr Vintners, Farr Tasting, May 2021

92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot. Cask sample.
A very masculine Lafite with a powerful tannic frame (bigger than 2019 and 2018). Deep, intense and stately on the nose with mineral-graphite notes to the fore. Palate rich but with a massive charge of fine-grained tannin and lingering freshness. Enormous length on the finish. Incredible potential. (JL) 12.8%
Drink 2032 – 2060

James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2021

(92% CS, 7% M, 1% PV; 45% harvest; 12.8% ABV)
Dense, mineral, gently oaky to smell, as always so subtle, fine, demanding of attention; fresh, concentrated, superfine in tannin texture, a gloriously harmonious balance; sweet, succulent, aromatically complex and refined, gently fleshy yet so fresh tasting, very long across the palate, softly mouthcoating, so full of delicate perfume, and intense yet so subtle cassis fruit, and with a terrific farewell of fruit and mineral aromas. A seductively complete and classic beauty, a discreet power, an effortlessly serene and polished performance, a top Lafite. Remarkable at under 13% ABV! 2036–60+.

Michael Schuster, The World of Fine Wine, May 2021
Read more tasting notes...

The 2020 Lafite-Rothschild is much more intense and complex compared to the Carruades this year. This First Growth bursts from the glass with beautifully defined blackberry and wild strawberry scents laced with sprigs of wild mint and juniper berries. The palate is medium-bodied with pliant tannins that frame the pixelated black fruit. This is quintessential Lafite in that it is not a powerful or immensely structured wine, but rather a First Growth with unerring balance and harmony, one that is unashamedly classic in style. There is just the right amount of dryness on the finish to urge you back for another sip. So Lafite it has its name tattooed onto its DNA. It will begin to soar after 10 years in the cellar. Drink 2030-2070.

Neal Martin, vinous.com, May 2021

Rather ethereal and so refined with finesse, focus and brightness that provides incredible energy and pedigree. It’s full-bodied with ultra fine tannins that go on and on. Superb presence with tannins that melt into the wine. This is 12.8%. I love the wine. Lots of dark fruit and fresh tobacco. Lead pencil, too. 92% cabernet sauvignon, 7% merlot and 1% petit verdot.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, May 2021

Displaying a deep purple-black color, the 2020 Lafite Rothschild takes a little swirling and coaxing to unlock scents of freshly crushed blackcurrants, boysenberries and spiced plums, followed by emerging nuances of red roses, raspberry preserves, underbrush and unsmoked cigars, with a waft of cedar chest. The medium-bodied palate is an exercise in elegance and finesse, featuring tightly wound layers of red and black berries and loads of mineral sparks, framed by finely grained tannins and well-poised tension, finishing with fantastic length and the most stunning perfume. Magnificent achievement. This 2020 is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, coming in at 12.8% alcohol and a pH of 3.9. Drink 2028-2063.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, May 2021

This is pretty much as close to entirely Cabernet Sauvignon as Bordeaux gets (92%) and yet it has an incredibly fine, gentle richness to the tannins. They build up pretty quickly though, so that by the end of the palate you start to feel the closing in and tightening, deftly underscoring how well this will age. The kaleidoscope of flavours and aromatics that Lafite does so well is fully on display, nothing trying too hard, a velvet texture to the tannins where the cassis fruit, earth, crushed stone and graphite is held in from beginning to end. Impressive that even in dry vintages like 2020 with the real concerns over global warming, the top Bordeaux estates can still produce wines of this quality.

Drinking Window 2028 - 2046

Jane Anson, Decanter.com, May 2021
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.