A classy and powerful Pauillac
As all Bordeaux estates belonging to the Barons de Rothschild Domains, Château Lafite-Rothschild was marked by drought. For two months, the vines had to withstand an important water stress until the end of veraison. But the rain finally fell on the 13th of September and eased the situation. The weather remained warm and dry until the end of the harvest of reds, allowing them to reach optimal maturity.
Château Lafite-Rothschild 2016 did not choose to include Petit Verdot this year, but instead incorporated 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot in the Grand Vin. In other words, Lafite-Rothschild 2016 is a wine marked by the straightness of Cabernet Sauvignon, a grape variety that offers depth, breadth and plenty of class. The wine is inky and its color reveals great density. This density is confirmed on the nose in this Pauillac restrained not for the lack of fruit and with a concentration that only years in a bottle can ease in order to deliver its promise of aromatic complexity. Fresh, the nose reveals discrete mineral notes (graphite) and black fruits such as blackberry. The classy and very full character of the wine is displayed on the palate with a density, vigor (good acid support) and an exemplary depth. The wine profits from a very classy touch. The tannic structure develops into chiseled, well-worked tannins. One of the greatest and most ambitious wines, the Château Lafite-Rothschild 2016 will live through many long decades. A very classy Pauillac!
Wine Advocate-Parker :
The 2016 Lafite-Rothschild is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot picked from 23 September until 12 October with the Cabernet Sauvignon (and unused Petit Verdot). It has 13.3% alcohol, a pH of 3.65 and the IPT of 74. Matured in 100% new oak, it has a fresh and vibrant bouquet whilst retaining the classicism of this First Growth. This is more subtle than Mouton-Rothschild or Latour, which is always the case at en primeur, yet there is a brooding intensity that draws you in as it unveils some gorgeous blackberry and graphite aromas. The palate is just superb. This has more density, more vigor, more depth and you could even argue more ambition than the 2015 Lafite-Rothschild showed last year. It gently grips the mouth with unerring focus and symmetry, just a touch of spiciness developing with a long, saline finish that lingers two minutes after the wine has departed. Lafite-Rothschild always develops and meliorates in barrel during its élevage and I suspect this will ultimately turn out to be a regal Lafite-Rothschild.