Tasted at "The Sampler's" icon tasting in London. The 2001 Lafite Rothschild has a quintessential bouquet for Lafite: very pure, almost understated at first. It then begins to open with briary, blackberry leaf, cedar and freshly rolled tobacco with subtle floral notes emerging after three of four minutes in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins and it certainly shows more vitality than the 1985 served alongside. Slightly grainy tannins, more feminine than previous bottles with dark plum, blackberry, citrus fruit, a touch of dried apricot and a very precise finish. Superb. Tasted December 2011.
Stick your nose in this and it says something—"I am special." Deep and generous aromas of blackberries, fresh tobacco and minerals. It's full-bodied, with big velvety tannins and a superlong finish. Like a fine cashmere sweater. Best after 2010. 22,000 cases made.
"It opposes absolutely no resistance to being drunk, that’s the secret of Lafite."
- Baron Eric de Rothschild
Situated in the wine-producing village of Pauillac in the Médoc region to the north-west of Bordeaux, the estate was the property of Gombaud de Lafite in 1234. In the 17th century, the property of Château Lafite was purchased by the Ségur family, including the 16th century manor house that still stands. Although vines almost certainly already existed on the site, around 1680, Jacques de Ségur planted the majority of the vineyard.
In the early 18th century, Nicolas-Alexandre, marquis de Ségur refined the wine-making techniques of the estate, and introduced his wines to the upper echelons of European society. Before long he was known as the "Wine Prince", and the wine of Château Lafite called "The King's Wine" thanks to the influential support of the Maréchal de Richelieu. Towards the end of the 18th century, Lafite's reputation was assured and even Thomas Jefferson visited the estate and became a lifelong customer.
Since the 19th century, the Rothschild Family have owned the wine estate. The name Lafite comes from the Gascon term "la hite" meaning "small hill". Lafite was one of four wine-producing Châteaux of Bordeaux originally awarded First Growth status in the 1855 Classification, which was based on recent prices. Since then, it has been a consistent producer of one of the world's most expensive red wines.
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