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Chateau Lafite Rothschild (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2009
Blend: 82.5% Cabernet Sauvignon 17% Merlot 0.5% Petit Verdot
The second you put your nose in the glass, you know that it is 100 points. The combination of sweet tobacco, fresh flowers, currants and sultanas on the nose leaves me breathless. Turns to cocoa powder and freshness. The palate re-enforces the show, with phenomenally polished tannins. Fabulous class. Could be a remake of the phenomenal 1959. Try in 2022.
The main reason the 2009 Lafite Rothschild did not receive a perfect score is because the wine has closed down slightly, but it is unquestionably another profound Lafite, their greatest wine since the amazing 2003. Among the most powerful Lafites ever made (it came in at 13.59% alcohol), the final blend was 82.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and the rest Petit Verdot. The selection was incredibly severe with only 45% of the crop being utilized. A tight, but potentially gorgeous nose of graphite, black currants, licorice and camphor is followed by a full-bodied wine revealing the classic elegance, purity and delineated style of Lafite. It is phenomenally concentrated with softer tannins than the 2005, the 2003's voluptuous, broad, juicy personality, and low acidity. There are several vintages that I thought were a replay of their colossal 1959, most notably 1982 and 2003, but 2009 is also one to keep an eye on. It is still extremely youthful and seems slightly more backward than I would have guessed based on the barrel tastings, but it needs 10-15 years of bottle age, and should last for 50+.
One of the greatest red wines I have tasted in its youth. Rich and long, plenty and fine; this is a really long wine with lots of grip and a powerful style that I don't often see in Lafite. Yet there is plenty of elegance here. A really complete wine with lots of future and rewards to come. (98-100) (Best Served 2029-2040)
his is stunning for its ability to take massively endowed fig, currant paste and crushed plum fruit flavors and harness them with ultrasuave freshly roasted espresso, black tea and ganache notes. A seductive style, long and velvety, with the dense core of black fruit and smoldering iron just waiting and waiting. Best from 2020 through 2040.
A powerful expression of Cabernet Sauvignon, solid in structure. The wine is rich and concentrated, very textured. Great spice goes with just enough fresh acidity, in this big wine.
Barrel Sample: 95-97 Points
Deep ruby-red. Classic Lafite aromas of cassis, cedar and graphite are lifted by a fragrant violet note. Then pure and vibrant on the palate, with seamless flavors of blackcurrant, blackberry, cedar, iron and flint. The very smooth tannins provide plenty of support to the fruit flavors, while the wine's harmonious acidity really draws out the finish. This outstanding Lafite is all about grace--in contrast to Latour's power. Rating: 96+
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.
A legendary wine region setting the benchmark for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay worldwide...
A legendary wine region setting the benchmark for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay worldwide, Burgundy is a perennial favorite of many wine lovers. After centuries of winemaking, the Burgundians have determined precisely which grape clone grows best on which plot of land, determined by the soil type, the elevation, and the angle in relation to the sun—this is a region firmly rooted in tradition and the concept of ‘terroir’ reigns supreme here. Because of the Napoleonic Code requiring equal distribution of property and land among all heirs, vineyard ownership in Burgundy is extremely fragmented, with some growers responsible for just one row or even one vine. This system has led to the predominance of the ‘negociant’—a merchant who purchases fruit from many different growers to vinify and bottle together.
Burgundy’s cool, marginal climate and Jurassic limestone soils are perfect for the production of elegant, savory, and mineral-driven Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with plenty of acidity. Vintage variation is of particular importance here, as weather conditions can be variable and unpredictable. Spring frost and hail are near-universal risks. The Côte d’Or, a long and narrow escarpment, forms the heart of the region, split into the Côte de Nuits to the north and the Côte de Beaune to the south. The former is home to many of the world’s finest Pinot Noir wines, while Chardonnay plays a much more prominent role in the latter, though outstanding red, white, and rosé are all produced throughout. Other key appellations include the Côte Chalonnaise, home to great value Pinot Noir and sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne; the Mâconnais, producing soft and round inexpensive Chardonnay; and Chablis, the northernmost region of Burgundy and an acidity-lover’s Chardonnay paradise.
One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow...
One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.
In the Glass
Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.