Lafon Rochet 2018

St Estephe, Fourth Growth

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Tasting Notes

The 2018 Lafon-Rochet has an intense bouquet of black and red fruit, touches of wild mint and incense. It is still a pretty and engaging nose, just as I found from barrel. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins, fine backbone and – what I really appreciate – superb precision and detail toward the saline finish. This is a classy, quite sophisticated Lafon-Rochet that deserves four or five years of cellaring. One of the best in recent years.

Score: 93

Neal Martin, Maturity: 2024 - 2044 22 August 2021

The 2018 Lafon-Rochet was picked from 24 September to 13 October, matured in concrete and stainless steel vats and reaching 14.50% alcohol. It has a complex bouquet, a mélange of red and black fruit mixed with a little aniseed. It is pretty and winsome. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly chalky tannin, a fine bead of acidity and perhaps what distinguishes this vintage for myself is the precision on the silky-smooth finish. Even compared to the previous vintage, this shows a little more tension and pixelation, a fine sapidity that comes through on the aftertaste. Good potential.

Score: 92 - 94

Neal Martin, Maturity: 2021-2040 01 November 2019

The upper Médoc did brilliantly in 2018, and that's certainly apparent when tasting the 2018 Château Lafon-Rochet. Sporting a deep purple hue as well as a gorgeous bouquet of ripe black and blue fruits, lead pencil, forest floor, chocolate, and leafy herbs, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a round, mouth-filling texture, ripe, velvety tannins, and a great finish. It doesn't quite have the precision of the top wines in the appellation, but it's loaded with charm and character, and I'd certainly be thrilled to drink a bottle. This rich, textured, flavorful Saint-Estèphe will benefit from 4-6 years in the cellar and keep for two decades.

Score: 94

Jeb Dunnuck, Maturity: 2025 - 2045 19 July 2021

Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Lafon-Rochet delivers impactful scents of baked blackberries, warm cassis and black cherry compote, with suggestions of chargrill, tar and tobacco leaf, plus a waft of wild mushrooms. The medium to full-bodied palate is laden with black fruit preserves and earthy accents, supported by firm, chewy tannins and just enough freshness, finishing with great length, if a little chewy.

Score: 91

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, Maturity: 2024 - 2041 15 July 2021

Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Lafon-Rochet is scented of cassis, blackberries, herbs and soil with tar and underbrush. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is firm and grainy with herb sparks and an earthy finish.

Score: 90 - 92

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, 23 April 2019

Barrel sample. Deepest crimson core with wide purple rim. Unusual nose: wild black fruits, vibrant fruit. Intense too, a bit like a blackcurrant pastille. Really expressive on the nose. Chocolate flavour and texture on the palate, not as vibrant as I expected from the nose, perhaps just all curled up inside the oak. The freshness on the finish is lovely. And the finish very long. Very good. (JH)

Score: 17

Julia Harding MW, Maturity: 2028-2038 23 April 2019

I presume Basile Tesseron is feeling pretty relieved that he decided not to continue with organics in February 2018, as the ability to be more flexible with treatments proved pretty important during the rest of the season. The result is very good, full of juice and life, with crunchy blackberry and cassis fruits that are up there in expression with the 2016. It has clear quality, but is also pretty austere, with good slate minerality and touches of hedgerow. It feels like a wine with good life ahead and something to say. 4% Cabernet Franc makes up the blend. Harvested 24 September to 11 October. 3.7pH.

Score: 94

Jane Anson, Maturity: 2026-2038 15 April 2019

A firm and silky red with blackberries and hints of chocolate and hazelnut character. Medium to full body. Beautiful, fresh finish.

Score: 93 - 94

James Suckling, 11 April 2019

A wine of lovely finesse the 2018 Lafon-Rochet offers a striking combination of fruit density and nuance, all in an understated style that is quite appealing. Dark cherry, sweet tobacco, menthol, dried flowers and mint all run through this silky, supple Saint-Estèphe. As always, Lafon-Rochet is one of the more laid back, elegant wines of the appellation. Even so, the 2018 has lovely mid-palate sweetness and silky tannins, both of which add to its considerable appeal. The blend is 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc. Yields were a healthy 50 hectoliters per hectare, higher than the average, which is closer to 42-45. Tasted three times.

Score: 92 - 95

Antonio Galloni, 01 April 2019

Light pepper and bay leaf accents lead the way, followed by ripe plum and blackberry compote flavors. Juicy and open in feel up front, but acquires a nice tug of earth through the finish.

Score: 90 - 93

James Molesworth, Wine Spectator 01 April 2019