Reviews & Scores
An elegant but muscular Lafite, really summing up the trajectory that this wine takes over decades in a good vintage. It started out in its early years with huge concentration, more in fact than in many vintages, but it is now showcasing the subtlety and infinite range of flavours and aromatics that make Lafite such a singular wine. Expect layers of earth, cigar box, liquorice, cold ash, blackberry, cassis, pencil lead, mint leaf and crushed rock minerality. The first Lafite to be put in an anti-fraud engraved bottle.
It has an intense bouquet with blackberry, cedar and a pencil box of graphite. The adjective I use whilst writing this note is that the aromas are "cool". Perhaps given its provenance, this is one of the most backward bottles of 1996 that I have tasted. There are those fine but rigid tannins that lend this Lafite such beguiling symmetry, copious cedar and graphite with a vein of brine and oyster shell. I love the precision of this wine and the sappiness on the finish.
The beauty and balance of this are phenomenal. Seamless tannins and fruit. Full body yet so balanced and refined. Sweet tobacco and berries. Minerals and cedar. A beautiful wine. The depth is superb.
The 1996 Lafite-Rothschild was remarkably deep in color considering that it is now 20 years in age. The bouquet is classic Pauillac with pencil shavings and sous-bois infusing the black fruit, masculine and a little aloof, yet focused and very well delineated. The palate is very well balanced with crisp blackberry and boysenberry fruit, spicier than I recollect, a crescendo of flavors so that it seems understated at first but fans out with a sense of confidence towards the finish. I think this still has more to give so cellar it away for another 5-8 years if you can, but otherwise this is an exemplary Lafite-Rothschild that I can envisage getting better and better in bottle, if not quite as enthralling as either Mouton-Rothschild or Château Margaux.
Looks (and tastes) SO much much younger and more purple than the Lafite 1995. Quite aromatic, very rich and ripe. Seductive. Very smooth. Almost formless for the tannins are well in retreat. Solid stuff that still has a way to go. Slightly inky. Much younger and more angular than the 1995. But it should come out of its shell very elegantly.
Gorgeous aromas of currant, berries and licorice. Full-bodied, with supersilky tannins and a long, caressing finish. Still holding back.