The 1999 Lafite Rothschild sports an engraved "1999" on the bottle along with an eclipse to mark that significant historical event of August, 1999. It is a quintessential offering from Lafite Rothschild. This prodigious wine is both elegant and intensely flavored, and almost diaphanous in its layers that unfold with no heaviness. An opaque ruby/purple color is accompanied by a complex bouquet of lead pencil, graphite, cedar, creme de cassis, toast, and vanilla. It is medium-bodied, with extravagant layers of richness yet little weight, and a finish that is all sweetness, ripeness, and harmony. This extraordinary Lafite increasingly appears to be a modern day clone of the majestic 1953. A mere one-third of the crop made it into the grand vin! Anticipated maturity: 2007-2030.
"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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