2013 Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac (Pre-Arrival)
Barrel Sample. This wine has firm tannins, lending it a dark, serious character. It is hugely concentrated, full of black fruit and sweet wood flavors. Along with the weight, it does have a more elegant side, showing potential balance, freshness and a long finish.
This is exceptionally high in Cabernet Sauvignon at 98% with only 2% Merlot. It shows aromas of black currants and flowers and cigar box. It’s full body, with fine tannins and a long finish. It’s subtle and polished.
The 2013 Lafite hits the palate with a burst of dark red and purple fruit. White flowers, mint and licorice all develop in the glass, adding layers of depth and complexity. Smoke, tar, cinnamon, graphite, dried violets and plums are all layered into the resonant finish. The style is up-front, textured and generous, with no hard edges and plenty of near to medium-term potential. The blend is 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Merlot. Tasted twice. (AG)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Medium red-ruby. Very precise, pure, flinty raspberry and coffee aromas are complicated by an intense violet note. Then almost steely in the mouth, with a bright, juicy personality to the flavors of red berries, plum, graphite and minerals. This struck me as quite mouthfilling without being at all heavy. Finishes with building but smooth tannins and a lovely lingering strawberry sweetness. General director Charles Chevalier said 'I went looking for fruit this year by harvesting as late as feasible, which of course meant that due to rot we made even less wine than projected, but I think we were able to achieve more fruit in this manner. I may have to decrease the time this wine will spend aging in oak but I don't know yet.' When I mentioned to Chevallier that I couldn't remember the last time a vintage of Lafite had so much Cabernet Sauvignon, he promptly answered: 'Few people know, but in 1994 the final blend was an unbelievable 99% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot; this year we just had to get rid of most of the Merlot, because even at 3% or 4% of the total it was obviously only diluting the whole.'
91-93 points Neal Martin: "The Grand Vin is a blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Merlot. The latter was apparently difficult to assimilate with the Cabernet, gradually adding 1% at a time and finally, electing 2% as the optimal amount. As usual, I spent 10+ minutes with my sample, as it is never as immediate as say, Latour or Chateau Margaux. It has an elegant bouquet with a fine violet scent that became more accentuated with time. There is plenty of dark cherry and blackcurrant fruit, a touch of pencil shavings that becomes more pronounced with aeration. The palate is a little austere because of the dominance of the Cabernet Sauvignon, although that 2% Merlot does take the edge off the finish, rounding out any edges. The aftertaste has that attractive saline tincture, but here a little spicier and longer than its peers. This is a traditional Pauillac; a success for the vintage and a wine that I think will improve in bottle rather than in barrel. A steadfast Lafite. Tasted April 2014." (Wine Journal, eRobertParker.com, 5/2014)