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.
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.
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.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(98% cabernet sauvignon and 2% merlot): 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."