Château Lafite Rothschild

The history of Château Lafite Rothschild

Château Lafite Rothschild is one of the most famous and prestigious Bordeaux wines. It is part of the 1er cru classified in 1855 belonging to the Medoc with the appellation Pauillac. Chateau Lafite Rothschild represents an area of 178 hectares including 112 hectares of vines. Chateau Lafite Rothschild was acquired by Baron James de Rothschild in 1868. It is 3 months after the purchase of this castle that Baron James Rothschild dies, so his three sons become the owners of the domain. In 1946, the Rothschild family entrusted the management to Elie de Rothschild. In 1974, Eric de Rothschild took over the Baron de Rothschild estates.

Finally, in 2018, Saskia de Rothschild replaces him and represents the 6th family generation.

This castle will know very beautiful successes such as the vintages 1869, 1870, 1874, 1875 and 1878. This beautiful era began with the 1855 classification. After having gone through the phylloxera crisis and the development of mildew in the vineyard as well as a great economic crisis, the estate still managed to obtain two exceptional vintages in the middle of this difficult period: 1926 and 1929.

In 1962, Chateau Lafite Rothschild decided to think bigger by acquiring Chateau Duhart-Milon, 4th growth classified in 1855. In 1984, the Rothschild family took over Château Rieussec, a Sauternes 1st growth classified in 1855. Then in 1990, Lafite Rothschild acquired Château l’Evangile.

The Lafite Rothschild vineyard: from vine to wine

Chateau Lafite Rothschild produces two mythical wines: Lafite Rothschild and Carruades de Lafite Rothschild, the second wine with an average production of 16,000 cases per year. The vineyard includes three large areas: the slopes around the château, the plateau of Carruades and a parcel in the commune of Saint Estèphe. The estate is composed of deep fine gravels, mixed with aeolian sands on a tertiary limestone subsoil.

The grape varieties of these wines are Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Merlot (25%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit verdot (2%).

The vines have an average age of 39 years, but the vines of less than 10 years do not enter into the grand vin. The techniques used are traditional and include a strict control of yields, hand harvesting and a lot of work done manually throughout the year.

Matching and structures of Chateau Lafite Rothschild

Depending on the year, Château Lafite Rothschild has very different ageing capacities.

The average ageing capacity is 15 to 30 years. To keep this wine well, it is ideal to store it in an aging wine cabinet between 12 and 14 degrees and in a wine cellar: 10 to 13 degrees and a humidity level between 70 and 75%. The aging period in oak barrels for this wine is 18 to 20 months.

Lafite Rothschild is a wine with fine tannins, great elegance and complexity. It also has an excellent length in the mouth which is expressed with power and vivacity. Its color is dark with violet reflections of a beautiful brightness. The main aromas are black fruits, red fruits and cedar, typical of Lafite Rothschild wines.

Concerning the food and wine pairing, Château Lafite Rothschild can be accompanied by different starters including truffles or ceps. For the main course, a fillet of beef with duck foie gras or wild duck will be a perfect match with this wine. And to finish, a cheese: the maroilles.

For its tasting, it is recommended to decant the wine two hours before or more and to taste it at a temperature of 16 to 18 degrees.