1996 Lafon-Rochet, St-Estèphe

SKU #110750 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 One of the sleepers of the 1996 vintage, Lafon-Rochet has turned out an atypically powerful, rich, and concentrated wine bursting with black currant fruit. The opaque purple color gives way to a medium to full-bodied, tannic, backward wine with terrific purity, a sweet, concentrated mid-palate, and a long, blockbuster finish. This wine remains one of the finest values from the luxury-priced 1996 vintage, and is well-worth purchasing by readers who are willing to invest 5-6 years of patience; it should keep for two decades. (RP)  (4/1999)

90 points Wine Spectator

 Blackberry and licorice aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a long finish. (Web-2007)

Jancis Robinson

 Mid ruby with hardly any ageing. Quite full and ripe and dense and attention grabbing. Big, bold fruit followed by St-Estèphe freshness. Lots to get your teeth into here… Very youthful. Very flattering. Quite sweet for a St-Estèphe. 17.5/20 points.  (12/2011)

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Deep ruby-red. Cassis, black olive, menthol and smoke on the nose. Rather unforthcoming in the middle palate today. In a distinctly drier style despite showing a ripe note of chocolate. Good but not outstanding flavor intensity.  (5/1999)

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Price: $54.99
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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.


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Specific Appellation:

Saint Estephe

- The northern-most of the Medoc communes, St. Estephe is quickly becoming one of the favorite areas for both high quality and great value Bordeaux reds. While it has fewer classified growths than the other communes, it also boasts some of the hottest up and coming chateaux of the last several. The most famous chateaux are the second growths Montrose and Cos d'Estournel with Calon Segur (3rd growth), Lafon Rochet (4th growth), and Cos Labory (5th growth) rounding out the cru classe wines. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the area, but plantings of Merlot are on the rise resulting in rounder, fatter, flashier wines than in years past.