©Louis Tsang, 26 May 2021
From the early 18th century when Lafite became a regular wine supplier to Robert Walpole (generally regarded as the first prime minister of Great Britain) to the year 1855 when the château was classified as one of the four (now five) Premiers Crus, Lafite had gained recognition across the western world. Today, Château Lafite-Rothchild remains one of the most prestigious and widely known wineries in the world.
One thing I learnt from my past experience is that Lafite is more than just a well marketed brand, and the quality of the wine lives up to its reputation. The château pays no less attention to viticulture with the use of traditional techniques, such as manual harvests and strictly limited use of chemical fertilizers. When it comes to the work in the cellar, every small detail is paid attention to. For instance, all the barrels are made by the winery’s own cooperage with a special toasting during production tailored to the characteristics of the wine.
The 1986 vintage of Lafite is the first Bordeaux wine that blew me away and it continues to be one of my favourites. I tasted it again last year during quarantine, and it punched above its weight. The wine possessed great poise and immense depth on top of intoxicating aromas. A recently opened Lafite 1978 at our shop was also really tasty, with a velvety texture and an elegant nose, the wine was fully mature and offered big pleasure.
Last but not least, there is a wine I always want to try again - the renowned Lafite 1982. It was one of the most balanced and complete Bordeaux wines I have tasted thus far. It reminded me of a comment on Médoc wines from Mr. Guillaume Lawton, who published an initial classification of Médoc wines in his brokerage house log. “I ranked Lafite as the most elegant and delicate, with the finest fruit of the three (leading wines).” He added, “its wines are the most superb in all of Médoc.”
At the time of writing we still have quite a few bottles of Lafite 1978, a handful magnums of Lafite 1986 which have been cellared in original wooden cases since release, some magnums and bottles of Lafite 1982, plus one single 6-litre impérial of ’82 ex-château. You are only one order away from tasting these legendary wines.