Chateau Lafon-Rochet 2004
Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
The chateau 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 chateau 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.
Deeply colored, concentrated, and distinctive, St. Estephe is the go-to for great, age-worthy and reliable Bordeaux reds. Separated from Pauillac merely by a stream, St. Estephe is the farthest northwest of the highest classed villages of the Haut Medoc and is therefore subject to the most intense maritime influence of the Atlantic.
St. Estephe soils are rich in gravel like all of the best sites of the Haut Medoc but here the formation of gravel over clay creates a cooler atmosphere for its vines compared to those in the villages farther downstream. This results in delayed ripening and wines with higher acidity compared to the other villages.
While they can seem a bit austere when young, St. Estephe reds prove to live very long in the cellar. Traitionally dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, many producers now add a significant proportion of Merlot to the blend, which will soften any sharp edges of the more tannic, Cabernet.
The St. Estephe village contains two second growths, Chateau Montrose and Cos d’Estournel.
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. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.