|Subregion||France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > St Estèphe|
Recent vintages here at this classed growth St Estéphe have been amongst the best ever with the latest generation of the family - Basile Tesseron - now in charge of the property. The new consultant is the legendary Jean-Claude Berrouet of Chateau Pétrus - his first job on the left bank. This striking property, with its yellow walls, is just along the road from Cos d'Estournel and overlooks the vineyards of Lafite. En primeur prices remain reasonable. The 40 hectare vineyard is planted 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot.
The 2020 Lafon-Rochet opens in the glass with aromas of cassis, plums and licorice, followed by a medium to full-bodied, deep palate with good concentration, lively acids and plenty of powdery structuring tannin that asserts itself on the finish. This, too, is more structured than its 2019 counterpart and will require a bit of patience. 2025 - 2040
The 2020 Lafon-Rochet was picked September 15–20 and marks the first collaboration between consultants Jean-Claude Berrouet and Eric Boissenot, who both worked on the blending. It has a really lovely bouquet of blackberry, briar and faint estuarine scents, hints of crushed iris flower emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins and modest depth, and quite fleshy; lip-smacking salinity urges you to take another sip. Intriguingly, it comes across a tad Pomerol-like on the finish, completing a top-notch Lafon-Rochet that may well end up at the top of my banded score. Drink 2024-2044.
Blackberry and spice with firm, chewy tannins that show polish and focus. It’s medium-to full-bodied with excellent energy. Blackberry and blackcurrant character on the finish with a touch of cedar and spice.
Lafon-Rochet 2020 has a deep garnet-purple color. It slowly unfurls to offer notes of baked plums and stewed black cherries, leading to wafts of cassis, cedar, and cinnamon toast. The medium-bodied palate is bright and soft, with a lively backbone and spicy lift on the finish.
Attractive, well-paced fruits, plenty of clarity to the flavours, together with a feeling of linearity to the tannins. Austerity through the mid-palate constrains the brambled cassis fruit, but things build back up again and this is a measured, successful wine that will age well. 3% Petit Verdot completes the blend. First year with Eric Boissenot accompanying Jean-Claude Berrouet as consultants.
Drinking Window 2027 - 2042
The 2020 is a blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, and 3% each Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Harvest was completed by the end of September. Deep ruby colour. Fresh, cool berries, cedar and tobacco on the nose. The palate is bright and crunchy, full of red berries and a hint of blackcurrant. There is a herbal note that pairs with a graphite edge. This is compact and fresh, and should offer enjoyable mid-term drinking.
Full bottle an admirably light 1,290 g. Cask sample taken 6 April. 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot.
Deep lustrous purplish crimson. Interesting vitality to the nose, almost as though biodynamic techniques were employed here. Lovely balance of ripeness and vitality. This is a very successful 2020. It may be dismissed by some because the tannins are not obvious but it's a delightful drink – already! Very distinctive. Perhaps not for seriously long-term cellaring but well done Basile Tesseron for producing something so appetising and groundbreaking. The finish is impressively persistent. 13.5%
Drink 2025 – 2040
(61% CS, 33% M, 3% CF, 3% PV; 13.5% ABV)
Freshly cassis-sweet to smell, a hint of gravel; medium-full, fresh in acidity, very finely tannic; succulently rich yet restrained, a classic “drier” claret profile, but freshly sweet-cored, beautifully textured, long, and graceful, concentrated without being in any way thick, and with an absolutely lovely farewell, a perfect mirror of all the tastes before. Classy, complete, aristocratic wine. 2030–50+.