Lafite Rothschild 1996 (750ML)
Critic Scores, Reviews & Descriptions
100 RP / 100 DE / 97+ VM / 97 JS
Tasted three times since bottling, the 1996 Lafite-Rothschild is unquestionably this renowned estate's greatest wine. As I indicated last year, only 38% of the crop was deemed grand enough to be put into the final blend, which is atypically high in Cabernet Sauvignon (83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot). This massive wine may be the biggest, largest-scaled Lafite I have ever tasted. It will require many years to come around, so I suspect all of us past the age of fifty might want to give serious consideration as to whether we should be laying away multiple cases of this wine. It is also the first Lafite-Rothschild to be put into a new engraved bottle (designed to prevent fraudulent imitations). The wine exhibits a thick-looking, ruby/purple color, and a knock-out nose of lead pencil, minerals, flowers, and black currant scents. Extremely powerful and full-bodied, with remarkable complexity for such a young wine, this huge Lafite is oozing with extract and richness, yet has managed to preserve its quintessentially elegant personality. This wine is even richer than it was prior to bottling. It should unquestionably last for 40-50 years. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2050. The wine of the vintage? - Robert Parker
An elegant but muscular Lafite, really summing up the trajectory that this wine takes over decades in a good vintage. It started out in its early years with huge concentration, more in fact than in many vintages, but it is now showcasing the subtlety and infinite range of flavours and aromatics that makes Lafite such a singular wine. Expect layers of earth, cigar box, liquorice, cold ash, blackberry, cassis, pencil lead, mint leaf and crushed rock minerality. The first Lafite to be put in an anti-fraud engraved bottle. 38% of overall production in the first wine, quite low at the time although typical today. 3% Petit Verdot completes the blend. (Jan. 2021) - Jane Anson, Decanter
The 1996 Lafite-Rothschild is consistent with the bottle shown at the Hong Kong vertical. It has an intense bouquet with blackberry, cedar and a pencil box of graphite. The adjective I use whilst writing this note is that the aromas are "cool". Perhaps given its provenance, this is one of the most backward bottles of 1996 that I have tasted. There are those fine but rigid tannins that lend this Lafite such beguiling symmetry, copious cedar and graphite with vein of brine and oyster shell. I love the precision of this wine and the sappiness on the finish. At the moment, maybe more impressive than enjoyable, so if you can, cellar it for another 5 to 8 years. Tasted at the Lafite-Rothschild 150th anniversary dinner at the estate.