Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1998
Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
We were concerned that the rainy harvest might dash our high hopes founded with the early blossoming, dry spring and scorching August. That turned out not to be the case. There was no rainfall until the harvest had already begun. The grapes were thus moistened but not penetrated, so maybe we can consider that divine intervention.
Once the first tanks had been worked, analyzed, and tasted, weary expressions changed to satisfied smiles. This vintage reflects the strength of our soil, with its deep colour and woody, fruity, and spicy palate. The "98" may be preserved for a very long time, and is rich and full with a silky and long finish.
The Wine Advocate - "A blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Merlot, this wine represents only 34% of Lafite's total harvest. In a less than perfect Medoc vintage, it has been spectacular since birth, putting on more weight and flesh over the last year. This opaque purple-colored 1998 is close to perfection. The spectacular nose of lead pencil, smoky, mineral, and black currant fruit soars majestically from the glass. The wine is elegant yet profoundly rich, revealing the essence of Lafite's character. The tannin is sweet, and the wine is spectacularly layered yet never heavy. The finish is sweet, super-rich, yet impeccably balanced and long (50+ seconds). Anticipated maturity: 2007-2035."
Wine Spectator - "Amazing aromas of crushed blackberries, toasted oak and currant, spices. Really a great nose. Full-bodied, with round and velvety tannins and a long, long finish. It lasts for minutes on the palate. Superb. Best wine of the Médoc, without a doubt."
International Wine Cellar - "Saturated bright ruby. Noble aromas of blackcurrant, cedar, lead pencil, licorice and nutty oak. Very intensely flavored and penetrating, with great class and grip. Impressively concentrated and juicy, but still rather imploded in the middle palate. This showed terrific subtle sweetness as it opened in the glass. Offers quintessential Lafite elegance as well as the strong backbone to support long aging. The finish features firm but ripe tannins and uncanny persistence of flavor. A candidate for the Medoc wine of the vintage.
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Chateau Lafite-Rothschild Winery
Château Lafite-Rothschild is perhaps the most famous wine label in the world. The estate achieved wide popularity in the 1750s when it became the favorite wine of King Louis XV. Thomas Jefferson was also a steadfast customer and even visited the estate.
In 1868, Baron James de Rothschild became the owner of Lafite. He was a born dilettante, and it suited him to be the master of what, in 1855, was classified as first among the great wines of Médoc. Today, Baron Eric de Rothschild presides over this most famous Bordeaux estate. View all Chateau Lafite-Rothschild Wines
About PauillacView a map of Pauillac wineries (pouy-YACK)
Home to three premier cru (first growth) chateaux, Pauillac is a leader in quality Bordeaux. Chateaux Latour, Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild are situated within the Pauillac appellation. Sandwiched between St.-Estèphe and St.-Julien, Pauillac wines are big - known for their combination of elegance and power.
Notable FactsThe gravel-based soils of Pauillac are key in creating the structured wines produced there. Like most of Bordeaux's left bank, Cabernet Sauvignon is the leading grape. Some typical descriptions of wine from Pauillac include: concentrated, full-bodied, powerful, firm tannins, ability to mature. Not all of the Pauillac wines are top price collectibles that you can only find at auctions. There are great values in the lower level crus, like the fifth growth, Chateau Lynch-Bages, as well as great Cru Bourgeois such as Chateau Pibran. These wines are more affordable and often mature a bit sooner.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.