Lafite Rothschild 1996
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By US 101
100 points Jane Anson
Tasted first at the château in July, then again at a Berry Bros supper in late November, and both time it effortlessly showcased why Lafite is one of the most sought-after estates in the world. Takes its time to open, even at 25 years old, but a bit of patience and you are rewarded with rosebud, tuffle, ash, pencil lead and crushed mint, all gently playing around the cassis, bilberry and blackberry fruits. There is huge concentration here, but everything is in balance, and you rejoice in the tertiary notes that give gentleness and juice to the overall feel. Charles Chevallier estate director at the time, Jacques Boissenot consultant. Harvest began September 24, 58hl/h yield. The first Lafite to be put in an anti-fraud engraved bottle. (11/2021)99 points Decanter
This is compelling, with a bright, forward currant fruit that is opening well now to show the nuance of game, earth, and gunflint to the ripe, dark fruit. The texture is tannic and fresh, with tannins starting to loosen but still in evidence. A luminous, radiant wine that will doubtless improve for another half-century. The vintage saw a solid flowering and fruit set and a warm July, but cool, rainy weather in August slowed ripening. The sun returned for most of September, but there was a bit of rain in the last week, although fine weather returned in October. At Lafite, 38% of the grapes went into the grand vin, a blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, and 8% Petit Verdot – more of this last and less Merlot than customary. From 1996 forward, the percentage of Cabernet was higher than it had been hitherto. (CC) (2/2022)