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Subtle, yet rich and decadent, offering meat, sweet berry and fresh leather on the nose. Full and very soft, with velvety tannins and a long, fruity finish. This has so much ripe fruit. Reserved and firm, this is turning to a very fine and shy…
As I suspected, the 1989 and 1990 vintages of Lafite-Rothschild have gone dormant. Both wines were among the more closed, backward examples in my blind tasting. The 1989 Lafite is also outstanding, but closed, with the tannin more elevated, and the wine so stubbornly reticent as to make evaluation almost impossible. Lafite`s 1989 was far more easy to taste and understand several years ago. It appears to have gone completely to sleep. This medium ruby-colored, medium-bodied wine reveals new oak in the nose, and a spicy finish. It is a quintessentially elegant, restrained, understated style of Lafite. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2025.
"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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