Want to know more about Chateau Lafite Rothschild and buy a bottle or two for your wine portfolio?
With an incredibly rich history, this fine wine is undoubtedly the most prestigious red wine from Bordeaux. Just the name Chateau Lafite Rothschild evokes grandeur - an aspirational label for all wine lovers!
What makes this French wine so sought-after? How’s it made? Which ones should you buy?
Let’s explore everything about this chateau, including its history, vineyards, taste, winemaking, prices, and how to authenticate a bottle of this incredible red wine.
Also discover 8 remarkable bottles of Chateau Lafite Rothschild that you should consider for your fine wine collection, and the best way to buy them!
This Article Will Cover:
- All About Chateau Lafite Rothschild
- Vinification At Chateau Lafite Rothschild
- The Different Wines Produced At Chateau Lafite Rothschild
- The Taste And Characteristics Of Chateau Lafite
- 8 Remarkable Chateau Lafite Vintages To Buy In 2020
- 1868 Chateau Lafite Rothschild
- 1848 Chateau Lafite Rothschild
- 1905 Chateau Lafite Rothschild
- 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild
- 1986 Chateau Lafite Rothschild
- 2005 Chateau Lafite Rothschild 'Carruades de Lafite'
- 2007 Chateau Lafite Rothschild 'Carruades de Lafite'
- 2006 Chateau Lafite Rothschild 'Carruades de Lafite'
All About Chateau Lafite Rothschild
Chateau Lafite Rothschild is located in Pauillac (to the north-west of Bordeaux) in the Medoc region of France.
The Chateau Lafite Rothschild wine estate was one of the four Chateaux of Bordeaux that received its First Growth (Premier Cru Classe) status in 1855. The other winemakers that received Premier Cru status were Château Haut-Brion, Château Latour, and Chateau Margaux.
To appreciate the beauty of the Bordeaux red wines made here, let’s look closer at the history of the Chateau Lafite estate.
The Colorful History of Chateau Lafite Rothschild
In the year 1234, the estate was owned by Gombaud de Lafite.
In the 17th century, the estate was taken over by the Ségur family, and Jacques de Ségur planted most of the vineyards we know today.
Early in the 18th century, Nicolas Alexandre, marquis de Ségur, refined the winemaking techniques of Chateau Lafite. He was responsible for the production of some of the best Bordeaux wines, including Château Calon-Ségur, Château Lafite, Château Latour, and Château Mouton.
In the early 19th century, the Lafite estate moved into the hands of the Vanlerberghe family.
Baron James de Rothschild bought Chateau Lafite in 1868. But, Baron James only got to enjoy the Chateau Lafite Rothschild estate for three months before his death. The estate was then inherited by his three sons: Alphonse, Edmond, and Gustave Rothschild.
During the 20th century, the estate survived two world wars, plundering, and the phylloxera epidemic!
In 1946, the Château was entrusted to Baron Elie de Rothschild. And in 1974, Baron Eric de Rothschild took over from his uncle Baron Elie.
With Chateau Lafite Rothschild at the center, the Domaines Baron de Rothschild (DBR Lafite) group started to expand rapidly in France. Baron Eric successfully acquired Chateau Duhart-Milon, Chateau L’Evangile, Chateau Rieussec, and Domaine d’Aussieres in Languedoc (France).
Later the Lafite group made acquisitions worldwide - Bodegas Caro in Argentina, Viña Los Vascos (Chile), and started developing vineyards in China in 2008.
Today Chateau Lafite Rothschild stands strong under the management of the 6th generation of the Rothschild Family. Baron Eric de Rothschild passed the reins to his daughter Saskia de Rothschild in 2018.
It is not just the history of Chateau Lafite that makes this red wine famous. The methods used to produce this wine have been meticulously refined over the years.
Read more: Serve your wine in style using this handy guide on How to Choose the Right Wine Glass.
Winemaking Process At Chateau Lafite Rothschild
Under the watchful eye of technical director Eric Kohler and his winemaking team, traditional processes and modern innovations work hand-in-hand to craft each Chateau Lafite vintage!
The grapes harvested from the vineyards of Chateau Lafite are fermented in two separate temperature-controlled rooms to maintain the identity of the terroir.
One room has traditional oak vats and the second one has modern stainless-steel vats.
Once the alcohol fermentation is finished, winemakers taste the cuvée-wines before moving it to the fine wine vats.
The wine then undergoes malolactic fermentation before being aged in barrels.
Interestingly, each barrel is crafted in the Domaine’s own cooperage (barrel making area). Each barrel goes through a special “toasting” process where it’s exposed to an open flame. This imparts smoky and toasted flavors to the wine.
Chateau Lafite blends the wines after the first racking of the barrels. During the 18-20 month aging process, the cellar master regularly racks the wines to clarify the flavors.
Read more: Check out how many calories are there in your favorite glass of wine!
Chateau Lafite's Terroir and Vineyard
When it comes to terroir, Lafite is blessed with sensational terroir!
As you know, the estate is in the northern part of Pauillac. The Pauillac appellation is also where other first growths like Chateau Latour and Chateau Mouton Rothschild are located.
The vines are planted and cared for in well-drained soil. The soil is made up of fine deep gravel, mixed with aeolian sand on a subsoil of tertiary limestone.
The Lafite vineyard covers 112 hectares and is split into three main areas.
- The hillsides around Chateau Lafite
- The adjacent Carruades plateau to the west
- The 4.5 hectares in Saint Estephe
The average age of the grapevines at Chateau Lafite Rothschild is 40 years. A vine that is less than 10 years old or younger is not chosen for the Grand Vin!
And, the grape varieties planted across these vineyards are:
- 70% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 25% Merlot
- 3% Cabernet Franc
- 2% Petit Verdot
Now let's look at the remarkable Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac wine produced at this estate.
Want a festive bottle of bubbly? Pick a few from this list of unbelievably good Sparkling Wines!
The Different Wines Produced At Chateau Lafite Rothschild
The Chateau Lafite Rothschild estate produces two world-class red wines - Chateau Lafite Rothschild, which is the Premier Cru Classe, and a second wine Carruades De Lafite.
1. Chateau Lafite Rothschild
The Chateau produces 16,000 cases of this exceptional Grand Cru wine annually.
The blend of grape varieties in a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild can vary. You’ll usually find a blend of 80-95% Cabernet Sauvignon, which is topped up with Merlot.
But, there have been some exceptions to this. The 1994 vintage had a blend of 99% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot, and the 1961 vintage was 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
This wine is aged for 20 months in new oak barrels.
2. Carruades De Lafite
Although it is similar to Chateau Lafite, the second wine of Lafite has its own strong personality.
While Chateau Lafite has a higher percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carruades de Lafite has a higher proportion of Merlot (30-50%.)
The wine is then aged for 18-20 months, 80% of the time in barrels and 20% in tanks. Over 20,000 cases of this wine are produced annually at the estate.
The Taste And Characteristics Of Chateau Lafite
The wines produced at Chateau Lafite Rothschild have all the classic characteristics of a red Bordeaux!
Each bottle has intense flavors of blackcurrants and aromas that develop into cedar, cigar, and pencil lead.
Also, the wine’s vibrant acidity and the robust tannic structure help the wine age beautifully over many decades!
To experience the full beauty of a bottle of Chateau Lafite, give it enough time to evolve and express its secondary and tertiary characteristics of cedar, tobacco, and leather!
Want to know how many glasses you can serve with a bottle of wine? Here’s a definitive guide!
You’ve also got to store your Lafite impeccably well - here are the best ideas to Build the Perfect Wine Cellar in your home!
Ready to sip on your glass of Chateau Lafite? Look at these 8 amazing bottles we found for you.
8 Remarkable Chateau Lafite Vintages To Buy In 2020
1. 1868 Chateau Lafite Rothschild
This is the unforgettable first vintage crafted under the ownership of the Rothschild family. No list of Lafite wines would be complete without this rare bottle!
This exceptional vintage offers ripe, pure, and rich aromas. Flavors of blackcurrant, cigar box, herbs, mineral, and plum will tantalize your taste buds.
This perfectly balanced vintage with silky tannins will transport you back to the old French wine country.
Price of 1868 Chateau Lafite Rothschild: $42,933
2. 1848 Chateau Lafite Rothschild
This light ruby-colored wine has a bouquet of earth, fruit, fruitcake, lead pencil, and sweet cedar. This vintage is remarkably dense, yet has an elegant and velvety texture.
The wine is wonderfully concentrated - but you’ll find the perfect balance between tannin and acidity levels.
The 1848 vintage is a legendary wine and a true representation of Lafite’s character!
Price of 1848 Chateau Lafite Rothschild: $29,999
3. 1905 Chateau Lafite Rothschild
The 1905 vintage is a delicate and energetic wine. The dry tannins give this vintage the strength to keep its structure and flavors over the years.
The palate is on the lighter side and is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon. It has an aroma of cigar box and black fruits. Just the bottle for your fine wine collection!
Price of 1905 Chateau Lafite Rothschild: $10,233
4. 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild
This full bodied vintage has a deep purple shade to it. It opens with a bouquet of intense aromas of blackberry, cedar, and graphite.
When it comes to the tasting notes, you will get notes of blackberry, blackcurrant, cedar, pepper, vanilla, and toasty flavors.
It is a well-structured vintage that needs at least 6 hours of decanting time before tasting.
Price of 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild: $3,874
5. 1986 Chateau Lafite Rothschild
If you are looking for a Lafite that has super smooth tannins, vivid acidity, and ripe flavors of fruits, then the 1986 vintage is for you.
Flavors of cassis, blackberries, cedar, black olives, dark chocolate, liquorice, and cigar will play on your palate. This vintage seems to have an almost never-ending finish.
Price of 1986 Chateau Lafite Rothschild: $1,325
6. 2005 Chateau Lafite Rothschild 'Carruades de Lafite'
The first Carruades de Lafite on our list is a blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot.
It has a ripe plum aroma and flavors of blackberry, cedar, and just a hint of minerals. It is heavy on the palate but has a great concentration, finesse, and vibrant acidity.
Drink now until 2025.
Price of 2005 Chateau Lafite Rothschild 'Carruades de Lafite': $386
7. 2007 Chateau Lafite Rothschild 'Carruades de Lafite'
The 2007 vintage is a blend that consists of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot.
On the nose, you’ll experience dark fruit, dark cherries, dried leaves, and boysenberry aromas. And, a crisp acidity and flavors of raspberry coulis and strawberries will tickle your palate.
Price of 2007 Chateau Lafite Rothschild 'Carruades de Lafite': $382
8. 2006 Chateau Lafite Rothschild 'Carruades de Lafite'
This wine is a blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 48% Merlot, topped up with Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. You’re sure to fall in love with its beautiful deep red color!
Expect aromas of black fruit and a more red fruit profile with this vintage. It has great acidity, and on the palate, you will experience a well-balanced red wine.
Price of 2006 Chateau Lafite Rothschild 'Carruades de Lafite': $378
So, how has these Lafite wines performed at auctions?
Chateau Lafite Rothschild at Auctions
Chateau Lafite Rothschild is known for breaking records at auctions!
In 1985, a 1787 Chateau Lafite, thought to be owned by Thomas Jefferson, was sold for $160,000.
Three bottles of the 1869 vintage were auctioned off in Hong Kong and were bought for $232,692 each in 2010!
To celebrate 150 years of ownership by the Rothschild family, the Chateau auctioned some of their rarest vintages in 2019. A bottle of the 1868 vintage that was added to this auction sold at $123,000.
Collectable Lafite Vintages You Should Look Out For
If you are looking to get your hands on some of the rarer vintages, look out for the 1945, 1947, 1949, 1959, 1961, and of course, the 1868 vintage.
If you are willing to wait a bit longer for your wine to increase in value, 2009, 2010, 2015, and 2016 are the current favorite vintages.
Now, with prestige and scarcity, comes the risk of fake bottles!
Let’s see how you can get over this hurdle when buying a Lafite.
The Risk of Counterfeits and How To Authenticate A Bottle Of Chateau Lafite
In 2012, authorities seized nearly 10,000 bottles of counterfeit Chateau Lafite Rothschild in China. This collection was valued at $16 million.
Also, it is believed that up to 70% of wine labeled Chateau Lafite Rothschild in China is fake.
So in February 2012, Lafite started placing an authentication seal on the capsules of Lafite bottles.
This seal has a unique “bubble code” and a 13 character alphanumeric code that cannot be reproduced. This unique combination lets you authenticate your bottle of Chateau Lafite and access information about that specific bottle on the website.
Either way, you’ve got to be extra careful when you buy a bottle of Lafite!
If you don’t want to take a chance at the auctions or scour the internet for the perfect bottle, you could always use a trusted wine investment firm like Vinovest to do all the hard work for you.
Let’s see how that works.
Buy And Store Your Chateau Lafite Wines Perfectly Through Vinovest
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How it works
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Benefits Of Buying And Storing Your Wine Through Vinovest
Here are plenty of reasons to use the Vinovest platform for your wine investment.
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8. You Buy It, You Own It
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Get A Taste Of French History through Your Chateau Lafite!
The Chateau Lafite Rothschild has always held a special allure for wine lovers, wine collectors, and investors alike!
And, getting an authentic bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild at the best prices doesn’t have to be difficult.
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