The 2003 Lafite Rothschild comes as close to perfection as any of the great Lafites made over the past three decades (1982, 1986, 1996, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010). This sensational effort came in at 12.7% natural alcohol, it is made in the style of one of this estate’s great classics, the 1959. Composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it exhibits a dense ruby/purple color to the rim along with a luxurious bouquet of cedarwood, lead pencil shaving, white chocolate, cocoa and cassis. Fat, rich, opulent and full-bodied with low acidity and stunning seductiveness and complexity, this noble wine possesses a bountiful, generous, heady style. It is just coming into its plateau of maturity where it should hold for 20-25 years. This is one of the candidates for the wine of the vintage – make no mistake about that.
"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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