1988 Raymond Lafon, Sauternes

SKU #970090 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 This small estate continues to turn out remarkably rich, unctuously-textured, thick, powerful wines that brilliantly balance power and intensity with elegance and finesse. The 1988 offers the most refined aromatic profile and the tightest structure. All three wines share opulent, full-bodied, exotic, lavishly rich personalities, moderate sweetness (the 1990 is the sweetest), and huge quantities of extract, glycerin, and alcohol in their finishes. All three wines are also extremely young and unevolved. They can be drunk now, but purchasers are advised to wait until the turn of the century and enjoy them over the following two decades. (RP)  (4/1995)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Attractively balanced and distinctively floral, lilac notes marrying nicely with the orange-peel, melon and honey flavors. Medium-to-full bodied.  (4/1995)

K&L Notes

The estate of Raymond-Lafon fell into neglect, and it was not until 1972 that Pierre Meslier, the manager of Yquem, purchased this vineyard and began to rebuild this wine's once fabulous reputation. Yield of 9 hectoliters per hectare (even less than Yquem's), with the same grape blend and winemaking techniques.

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Varietal:

Semillon

- A rich, viscous, full-flavored but subtly-scented and botrytis-prone white grape, Sémillon reaches magical heights when infected with "noble rot" and combined with even small amounts of the aromatic and high-acid Sauvignon Blanc to make Sauternes, one of the world's most revered and longest-lived wines, and in the sweet wines of surrounding regions like Barsac. Sémillon's most famous incarnation is in the wines of Château d'Yquem, one of the world's most expensive wines, and one that has been known to evolve for centuries. It frequently dominates, but not by much, in the oak-aged whites of Bordeaux's Graves and Pessac-Léognan, creating honeyed and viscous wines that are unlike any others. Elsewhere in Bordeaux and around France it takes on a supporting role in the wines of Entre-Deux-Mers and the Médoc. While planted throughout France, Europe, California and Washington, Sémillon's role as underling usually keeps it out of the spotlight with a few winery-specific exceptions. However, the grape is allowed to shine in Australia's Hunter Valley, where it is used to make an elegant dry wine often called, perplexingly, Hunter Valley Riesling. It also makes some incredible dry, oaked wines from the Barossa and lovely stickies in the style of Sauternes.
Country:

France

- 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.
Sub-Region:

Bordeaux

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Specific Appellation:

Sauternes

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