Chateau Lafite Rothschild  2005 Front Label
Chateau Lafite Rothschild  2005 Front Label

Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2005

  • D100
  • WE99
  • WS98
  • RP98
  • W&S98
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Winemaker Notes

2005 was the fourth consecutive year to have a deficit in rainfall, but the drought began very early, at the end of May, which allowed the vine to adapt itself by reducing its leaves. The very hot weather in June and July gave way to progressively cooler weather in August and the cool nights allowed good acidity levels to be maintained, resulting in slow steady ripening. A year of atypical weather but in the end ideal for the production of healthy, very ripe grapes with wonderful freshness.

Deep color. An intense, delicate, subtle and complex nose. Very neat and regular on the palate upon attack leading to volume and a nicely round structure. Immensely powerful, great length, density and elegance.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
D 100
Decanter
This stunning wine is still extremely young, with an amazingly expressive nose with tea leaf hints. The aromatics keep building and building in the glass, and the elegance and persistency shine through. This was a drought year, unusual because it was almost perfect from beginning to end with not a drop of rain from May to October. Temperatures were not hot like 2003, of course, so the ripening was slow and complete, with relatively small yields and relatively high alcohol. This is full of energy and the flavours just keep on going, while those tannis have really started to embrace the fruit and showcase their elegance. It's concentrated and luscious yet focussed and beautifully balanced - the perfect example of how they don't need excess to deliver something truly extraordinary in Bordeaux.
WE 99
Wine Enthusiast
Initially dense, almost black enough to be attacked with a knife. But then it becomes apparent that this is a beautifully integrated, balanced wine, bringing together power, with the hallmark Lafite style and poise. In the end, you have a wine that promises an impressive aging potential along with delicious black currant fruits, acidity and a layer of striking tannins.
WS 98
Wine Spectator
Delivers blackberry, dried porcini, tobacco and licorice aromas. Full-bodied, with layers of velvety tannins and loads of dark chocolate, cigar box, currant, berry and mineral. The finish is long, with a coffee, almost meaty, aftertaste. Very beautiful and balanced. Best after 2013.
RP 98
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Made in an ethereal style, the 2005 Lafite is composed of nearly 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, just under 11% Merlot, and a tiny fraction of Petit Verdot (representing only 40% of the total harvest). It is a deep, structured, linear style of Lafite Rothschild that is in total contrast to the opulence and extravagant richness of the 2003 and the bold, dramatic power of the 2000. The dense ruby/plum/purple-tinged 2005 offers up scents of graphite, flowers, crushed rocks, and loads of berry fruit. Medium-bodied and sweet with high tannin, it represents the quintessentially elegant style of Bordeaux. Another brilliant effort made under the auspices of administrator Charles Chevalier, it should be at its finest between 2015-2050+. 94-98 Points
W&S 98
Wine & Spirits
Lafite is the most elegant of the firsts in 2005; it also may be the most romantic. The wine's heady scent of new oak rises in harmony with the succulent red fruit. Then the tannins come on with a gentle roar, layering the perception of flavors in subtle shadings. There's not a trace of the hyperintensity that so many young 2005s wear as if required for their longevity. The stones of Lafite grow something more numinous than that, a wine with the power to strike an emotional chord through taste. This will be one of the longest lived wines of 2005.
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Chateau Lafite Rothschild

Chateau Lafite Rothschild

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Chateau Lafite Rothschild, France
Chateau Lafite Rothschild Chateau Lafite Rothschild Winery Image

Chateau Lafite Rothschild is one of only four classified first growths and thus the designation as 1st er Cru. The vintage rankings of the Universal Paris Exposition in 1855 officially gave Lafite the rating as “Leader among fine wines.” 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 Chateau Lafite. Today, his daughter Saskia de Rothschild represents the 6th generation of the family at the head of the winemaking properties. 

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The leader on the Left Bank in 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 most outstanding wines in all of Bordeaux.

Defining characteristics of fine wines from Pauillac (i.e. Cabernet-based Bordeaux Blends) 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.

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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 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.

Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends

Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. 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.

Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends

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 Secrets for Bordeaux Blends

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

RUS94582_2005 Item# 94582

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