1998 Lafite-Rothschild, Pauillac

SKU #996977 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Merlot, the 1998 Lafite Rothschild is deep garnet with a hint of brick and gorgeous notions of sandalwood, crème de cassis, smoked meats, black pepper and garrigue with touches of chargrill, dried herbs and mincemeat pie. Medium-bodied, soft and plush on the palate, it has tons of mouth-filling savory and plum preserves flavors and a very long, savory finish. Delicious now, it should keep for 15-20 more years. (LPB)  (5/2018)

95 points Wine Spectator

 Amazing aromas of crushed blackberries, toasted oak and currant, spices. Really a great nose. Full-bodied, with round and velvety tannins and a long, long finish. It lasts for minutes on the palate. Superb. Best wine of the Médoc, without a doubt. (JS, Web-2009)

94 points Decanter

 Easy vintage until September, when conditions in the Médoc particularly became humid, which meant accelerating the harvest (it was one of those years when Lafite benefitted enormously from its ability to ramp up a bigger-than-expected team of pickers). Salin still calls this a lunch wine, because of its supple freshness, its balance that would work so perfectly with food.The vintage was a showcase for Bordeaux on the Right Bank, where it was considered great from the start. The Medoc and Graves were less well received at the time, but are ripe for rediscovering now. This still has a lovely deep ruby red colour, and on both the nose and palate you are getting to secondary aromas, a walk in the forest, mushrooms, cedars, heather, game -- these are flavours you just don’t get in young wines, and amply reward the patience of holding bottles back. The surprise, and the Lafite signature, comes in its vibrancy, in its huge persistency and in the lift on the finish. (JA)  (12/2016)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Saturated bright ruby. Noble aromas of blackcurrant, cedar, lead pencil, licorice and nutty oak. Very intensely flavored and penetrating, with great class and grip. Impressively concentrated and juicy, but still rather imploded in the middle palate. This showed terrific subtle sweetness as it opened in the glass. Offers quintessential Lafite elegance as well as the strong backbone to support long aging. The finish features firm but ripe tannins and uncanny persistence of flavor. A candidate for the Medoc wine of the vintage. 94+ Points (ST)  (6/2001)

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Varietal:

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.
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.
Sub-Region:

Bordeaux

Specific Appellation:

Pauillac

- Pauillac is probably the most famous village in Bordeaux. Located between St. Julien and St. Estephe, it has more of the top ranked chateau than the other four appellations of the Haut Medoc. This area has three of the five premier cru classe wineries: Lafite Rothschild, Latour, and Mouton Rothschild. There are two of the top second-growths (Pichon Lalande and Pichon Baron) as well as several outstanding fourth and fifth-growth chateaux including Lynch Bages. Because of the gravely soils and great drainage, Pauillac has the ideal conditions to grow great Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines from this village are some of the longest-lived in Bordeaux.