Chateau Lafon-Rochet (Futures Pre-sale) 2011
Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Estephe, Bordeaux, France
Chateau Lafon-Rochet has smooth tannins, beautiful balance, a silky texture, and is altogether sensual. Just as grandma's old apple tree at the bottom of the garden has tastier apples, grapes from old vines product wine with more flavor and concentration. Although they produce less, their fruit reflects the terroir more faithfully. Lafron-Rochet is both simple and complex, with black fruit aromas in most vintages. It exemplifies a smoothness and expression unique to Saint-Estephe, as well as a certain warmth and elegant roundness due to the Merlot grape.
Wine Enthusiast - "This wine has richness, weight and dark tannins, with balanced fruit and a ripe mouthfeel. It’s powered by spice and blackberry flavors.
Barrel Sample: 93-95 Points"
Wine Spectator - "Kirsch and dark plum fruit is succulent, and offset nicely by brisk, chalky minerality, which gives a good driven feel to the finish.
The Wine Advocate - "Deep, fully saturated purple-ruby. Herbs, coffee, blackberry and minerals on the nose. Enters rich dense and juicy, but turns austere on the back end, finishing with moderately complex blackberry and blackcurrant flavors and good persistence. The finish is clean and pure, no easy accomplishment due to the hail that hit the vineyards at the beginning of September. This is very well made but lacks a little generosity. Basil Tesseron and his father Michel did a great job in this difficult year: stay tuned for some exciting developments at this property in the near future.
Barrel Sample: 87-90 Points"
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Chateau Lafon-Rochet Winery
This ancient estate can trace its origins back to the early 16th century, at which time "Rochet" belonged to the vast Vallée Roussillon feudal estate. Château Lafon-Rochet stayed in the Lafon family for two years, despite the upheaval of the French Revolution. They were also owners in 1855, when their wine received the ultimate recognition as a great growth, along with only four others in the Saint-Estèphe appellation.
The château is in a choice location, in one of the most prestigious winegrowing areas in the world – between Cos d'Estoumel and Lafite-Rothschild (to the south). It is thus hardly surprising that Guy Tesseron, famous for the quality of his old Cognac, was attracted to Lafon-Rochet some 40 years ago.
After acquiring the estate, he decided that the existing cellar was unworthy of such a fine wine, and had it razed. He built an entirely new one and, in a highly unusual move, built a new château as well, in the style of the 17th century chartreuse manor house. Thanks to the great care and attention lavished on Lafon-Rochet, it has become one of the standard bearers of the great wines of Saint-Estèphe in France and around the world. View all Chateau Lafon-Rochet Wines
About St. EstepheView a map of St. Estephe wineries (saint ess-TEFF)
St.-Estèphe is the northernmost of the 4 communes hugging the Dordogne river in the Northern Haut-Médoc area of Bordeaux. While the appellation has no premier crus (first growths) of its own, it's southernmost chateau, Cos d'Estournel, is a highly acclaimed second growth, geographically separated from the famed Lafite-Rothschild in Pauillac by only a stream. Many believe Cos d'Estournel consistently produces wine of a first growth level.
Notable FactsWine from St-Estèphe typically matures more slowly than its southern counterparts. The soil is heavy and rich with clay, leading to wines with firm, muscular tannins and high acidity. Dark and opaque in color, the wines can be a bit austere in their youth, though most get softer as they age. Cabernet Sauvignon is the primary grape in most of the region's blends, although Merlot is important in helping to soften the wines. In volume, St-Estèphe creates the most wines of the top four Haut-Médoc communes. There are quite a few Cru Bourgeois properties, which are more approachable when young and, even better, lower in price. To get a feel for St-Estèphe, look for Cru Bourgeois like Chateau Haut-Beauséjour.
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 & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.