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Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1990

Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
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0% ABV
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Try the 1997 Vintage 849 97
1,099 97
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Winemaker Notes

We had a plentiful harvest, of high quality. The climatic conditions were good for the harvest. Darkly coloured, fine nose and of high complexity--berry fruit aroma, smoke, leather spices and a touch of oak. First impression is that this wine attacks frankly in the mouth but reveals to be elegant, very tight tannins, fine ripened fruits. Luxurious texture. A long aftertaste. Potential quality to develop in years--a very long keep.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Interestingly, a bottle of 1990 Lafite Rothschild I pulled from my cellar for a video blog on my web site was still buttoned down, tight, and even with extended decanting was not showing as much as I would have hoped. However, a bottle tasted, of all places, in Seoul, Korea in February, was only a few points short of perfection. That amazing performance motivated me to pull another bottle out of my cellar and follow it over the course of two days. Sure enough, by the second day the wine was roaring from the glass. The 1990 Lafite has turned out far better than my early assessment. While it still possesses some firmness, and performs like a late adolescent in terms of its evolution, it boasts gorgeous aromas of cedar, tobacco leaf, cassis, and lead pencil shavings. The explosive aromas are followed by a fleshy, full-bodied wine...
WS 95
Wine Spectator
Very serious fruit, with juicy berry, tobacco and cedar character. Slightly more body than the 1989, but they are very close in character. I would give this a little more time.
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Chateau Lafite Rothschild

Chateau Lafite Rothschild

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Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
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While the first known reference to Lafite dates to 1234 with a certain Gombaud de Lafite, abbot of the Vertheuil Monastery north of Pauillac, Lafite’s mention as a medieval fief dates to the 14th century. The name Lafite comes from the Gascon language term “la hite”, which means “hillock”. There were probably already vineyards on the property at the time when the Ségur family organised the vineyard in the 17th century, and Lafite began to earn its reputation as a great winemaking estate. Jacques de Ségur was credited with the planting of the Lafite vineyard in the 1670s and in the early 1680s. 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.


After the 1973-1976 mini-crisis that hit Bordeaux, Baron Eric’s management of the estate made strides forward with a search for excellence and the gradual addition of a new technical team. In 1985 Baron Eric began a tradition of inviting fine-arts photographers to photograph Château Lafite. Today, his daughter Saskia de Rothschild is the head of the Chateau and represents the 6th generation of the rothschild family.

Pauillac

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The leader on the Left Bank as far as number of first growth classified producers within its boundaries, Pauillac has more than any of the other appellations, at three of the five. Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild border St. Estephe on its northern end and Chateau Latour is at Pauillac’s southern end, bordering St. Julien.

While the first growths are certainly some of the better producers of the Left Bank, today they often compete with some of the “lower ranked” producers (second, third, fourth, fifth growth) in quality and value. The Left Bank of Bordeaux subscribes to an arguably outdated method of classification that goes back to 1855. The finest chateaux in that year were judged on the basis of reputation and trading price; changes in rank since then have been miniscule at best. Today producers such as Chateau Pontet-Canet, Chateau Grand Puy-Lacoste, Chateau Lynch-Bages, among others (all fifth growth) offer some of the finest wines in all of Bordeaux.

Defining characteristics of fine wines from Pauillac include inky and juicy blackcurrant, cedar or cigar box and plush or chalky tannins.

Layers of gravel in the Pauillac region are key to its wines’ character and quality. The layers offer excellent drainage in the relatively flat topography of the region allowing water to run off into “jalles” or streams, which subsequently flow off into the Gironde.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

BMT6529_1990 Item# 6529