Lafite Rothschild 2018

Pauillac, First Growth

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Tasting Notes

The 2018 Lafite-Rothschild comes in an embossed bottle to celebrate 150 years of ownership by the de Rothschild family. Typical of this First Growth, there is nothing gaudy or showy on the nose; instead, sensual, almost placid aromas of tobacco and pencil-shaving-tinged black fruit unfold gently in the glass. Less extroverted than the 2018 Mouton, this is sophisticated and cerebral. As I found before, it only gains vigor after 60 minutes. The palate is beautifully balanced with finely chiseled tannins, pure black fruit and those traits of cracked black pepper and sage extant. I once thought it might challenge the 2016 with bottle age, and though I feel that the 2018 is not quite at that level, it is certainly a wine befitting the anniversary. Lafite-Rothschild, masterfully proving how less is more.

Score: 96

Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2025 - 2060 22 August 2021

The 2018 Lafite-Rothschild was picked September 17-25 for the Merlot and September 25 to October 4 for the Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a very intense bouquet of blackberry, tar, tobacco and graphite aromas. It feels extremely cohesive and harmonious, gaining vigor with aeration over 30 minutes. The pure, refined palate is medium-bodied with an arresting satiny texture, perfect acidity and an undercurrent of cracked black pepper and sage. This is a great Lafite-Rothschild that might end up challenging the 2016, though I concur with winemaker Eric Kohler that it is unlikely to surpass it. The 2018 Lafite-Rothschild is certainly impressive, and at 13.3% alcohol, you will not need so much aspirin the following day.

Score: 95 - 97

Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2025-2060 01 November 2019

Checking in as a blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot, and the balance Petit Verdot, the 2018 Château Lafite-Rothschild is one of those magical Lafites that offers an already up-front, complex, nuanced style yet has the class and balance to evolve for 40-50 years. As always, this wine is never about sheer power, and the 2018 offers a full-bodied, incredibly elegant and weightless style that carries textbook blackcurrant fruits, lead pencil shavings, green tobacco, cedarwood, and camphor aromas and flavors. I compared this wine to a more elegant version of the 2016 from barrel and I think that comparison still holds. Incredibly up-front and charming, and already drinkable with sweet tannins, it will unquestionably pick up more complexity and nuance over the coming 4-6 years. It should hit maturity around age 10 and evolve for 75 years or more given its perfect balance. This is a beautiful, quintessential Lafite that exudes elegance and charm.

Score: 98

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com Maturity: 2027 - 2102 19 July 2021

What will unquestionably be another magical wine from Eric Kohler and his team, the 2018 Château Lafite checks in as 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot, and just a splash of Petit Verdot. It's a classic Lafite that offers a deep purple/ruby color and beautiful notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil shavings, tobacco, cedar, and graphite. Flawlessly balanced, full-bodied, and seamless, it's a wine that builds incrementally on the palate, offering incredible finesse, ripe, present tannins, and a great finish. It reminds me of a more elegant version of the 2016 and should be approachable with just 5-6 years of cellaring and keep just about forever.

Score: 96 - 98

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com 01 May 2019

The 2018 Lafite Rothschild is blended of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot and has 13.3% alcohol. Deep purple-black in color, it needs a fair bit of swirling to unlock intoxicating scents of blackcurrant cordial, baked plums and black cherry compote with an undercurrent of dark chocolate, licorice, cast-iron pan, cedar chest and fertile loam, plus a waft of pencil lead. The delicately crafted, medium-bodied palate is dripping with class, featuring layers of mineral-laced black fruits and exquisitely ripe, singularly Lafite tannins, finishing with epic length and depth. This simply stunning, delicately crafted expression of 2018 with its singularly evocative imprint of Lafite will require a good 7-8 years in bottle, then should continue to inspire awe over the following 40+ years.

Score: 100

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com Maturity: 2028 - 2068 15 July 2021

The 2018 Lafite Rothschild is blended of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot and has 13.3% alcohol. The Merlot was harvested September 17-24, the Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested September 25 to October 5, and the Cabernet Franc was harvested on September 24. It has a deep purple-black color and then WOW—what a nose. It comes sashaying out of the glass with bags of grace and perfume, revealing notions of lilacs, red roses, fragrant soil, cinnamon stick and Morello cherries with a core of blackcurrant cordial, fresh black plums, redcurrant jelly and tapenade plus a waft of iron ore. Medium-bodied, the palate has wonderful, tightly wound layers of black, red and blue fruits intermingled with floral, earth and mineral notions and a rock-solid frame of the most finely pixelated tannins you can possibly imagine. Anyone who wants to see what I mean when I babble about the Lafite tannins needs to try this benchmark. The finish goes on, and on, and on. If this wine doesn’t get Bordeaux lovers hearts' racing, nothing will.

Score: 98 - 100

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com 23 April 2019

This stood out during en primeur, not just for itself but also in comparison to so many estates around it. While several properties had an unusual vintage, where their personalities were subverted by the weather conditions, Lafite just continued being Lafite, a true mark of its character and its terroir. This is still of course extremely young, keeping its cards close to its chest; the power for now is hidden, waiting, and will slowly unveil. This is going to be a beautiful Lafite in the future, a brilliant wine with bilberry, slate and pencil lead character, and a eucalyptus mint wash. 3.75pH. A yield of 40hl/ha. 40% of the production went into the grand vin. 74IPT.

Score: 98

Jane Anson, Decanter.com Maturity: 2028-2050 01 November 2020

This is silky and delicious and juicy, not something you can often say about a Lafite En Primeur sample but before you even get close to tasting the wine you can feel the layers building. It has the precision, the freshness and the sense of effortless elegance that Lafite always conveys with lots of power and depth, deep black fruits on the nose and a mix of spices from rosemary to saffron on the palate. Is it better than the 2016? It’s hard to say at this stage but it certainly feels its equal, although differently constructed and unlikely to take as long to come around - think 10 rather than 14 years before reaching its drinking window. It's worth adding that very few wines have been so unmarked by the extremes of the vintage, or as technical director Eric Kohler puts it; 'Even after 25 years of working at Lafite I continue to be full of admiration for this terroir. Other plots that we own reacted to the heat at times, but Lafite just kept sailing on as usual'. The harvest took place between 17 September and 5 October, with a yield of 40hl/ha. 40% of the production went into the grand vin. 3.75pH which is classic for them. 74IPT.

Score: 98 - 100

Jane Anson, Decanter.com Maturity: 2028-2050 15 April 2019

A very compact and linear Lafite with a fantastic mouthfeel of intense but ever so refined tannins that draw a straight line through the middle of the wine. It’s full-bodied yet compact with complex character of plums, blackcurrants, cigar tobacco, cedar and hints of hazelnuts and coffee. Salty. Orange zest at the end. Delicacy with power. Richness with softness. Glamorous. Lasts for minutes at the finish.

Score: 99 - 100

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com 11 April 2019

The 2018 Lafite-Rothschild is creamy, sensual and inviting, with lovely purity of fruit and impeccable balance. Dark cherry, plum, licorice and spice are some of the many nuances that develop. Time in the glass brings out striking aromatic depth and overall persistence. Although an undeniably attractive wine, the 2018 does not appear to have the sheer pedigree of the very best wines in this vintage. None of the three samples I tasted were as impressive as I had hoped for. Perhaps I had bad luck. Time will tell. The blend is 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot.

Score: 93 - 96

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com 01 April 2019