I was very struck by the strong blackcurrant cassis aromatics of Château Lafite-Rothschild in 2014. It was incredibly expressive, almost sublimated in style and extremely ripe. It felt like it will count amongst the great years of Lafite, yet it weights in at just 12.6 degrees alcohol. Château Duhart-Milon looks very strong in 2014. It possesses Lafite-like focus and concentration. Carruades de Lafite was also expressive and plump, showing a lot of juicy Merlot fruit alongside ripe Cabernet Sauvignon. All in all this this feels the most exciting vintage for these wines since 2009 and 2010 and light years from the difficult 2013 vintage.
Prices? Château Lafite was offered at attractive discounts this year – showing Lafite remains cognizant of the basic principles of the en primeur business. The first tranche was released at 285 euros a bottle and the second tranche at 310 euros. This gave a release price in the UK of around £3000 [ $4800] per case of 12. This makes it comfortably the cheapest Lafite on the market. Liv-Ex analysis puts this at 33% and 37.5% down on the 2006 and 2008 vintages. It is encouraging to see a 2014 priced to sell.
If Lafite, Carruades and Duhart all rose furthest in the speculative wine boom, they’ve suffered the steepest falls since. In many respects, given the giddy heights to which their prices soared, the 2008, 2009 and 2010 vintage appear pretty much rock bottom currently, half or less than half their peak prices in 2011.
The following wines were tasted on Monday 30 March, 2015 at Château Lafite-Rothschild.
Carruades de Lafite, Pauillac, 2014
Deep and healthy looking; vibrant edge; perfumed and rich aromatics; nicely composed; blackcurrant fruit; some fatness; plumpness from the Merlot; cool entry to the palate; blackcurrants and plums; very nicely done and proportional; wet rocks and some minerality too; softness and delicacy but also balance and quilibrium; length too. Little oak on the finish currently. [58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 13% alc]. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted 30 March, 2015 at Lafite. 91-93
Château Duhart Milon, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014
Deep core; full looking; purple at edge; fractionally tighter to the rim than Carruades; fine, lead pencil Cabernet nose; gloss too and some prettiness; creamy blackcurrant fruit tones here; cool blackcurrant fruit on the palate; quite exceptional fruit tones in fact; Cabernet par excellence; lots of extract and matter but held in wonderful proportion; softly handled tannins; terrific length. Exquisite Duhart. [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot 13% alc, harvest 23-29 September for Merlot, 29 September to 10 October for Cabernet Sauvignon.]. Drink 2019-2035. Tasted 30 March, 2015 at Lafite. 93-95+
Château Lafite-Rothschild, Premier Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2014
Deep and dark; fresh looking at edge; opaque centre; purple at edge; very ripe blackcurrants and cassis notes; graphite; intense cassis infact; sublimated blackcurrants and cassis; plenty of flesh on the palate; focus; some oak to integrate but lots of blackcurrant fruit and cassis again; structure evident beneath; excellent purity and length; very long palate impression. This is concentrated Lafite, sublimated even. In the realm of the great years. [second sample showed similar characteristics – very concentrated blackcurrants; cassis]; Exceptional stuff. [87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 12.6 degrees alc, harvest 22-27 September for Merlot and 29 September-8 October for Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc 2 October and Petit Verdot 10 October]. Drink 2022-2035. Tasted 30 March, 2015 at Lafite. 95-97+
Tags: Bordeaux, Bordeaux 2014, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carruades de Lafite, Chateau Duhart Milon, Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Grand Cru Classé, Merlot, Pauillac, Petit Verdot, Premier Grand Cru Classé