Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2006
One of the fabulous surprises, although I had suggested last year that it could jump in quality, of my tastings, the 2006 Lafite Rothschild is a great, great wine made from a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot. When I tasted it from barrel, it reminded me of their successful 1988, but it is dramatically superior to that vintage. Frankly, it may turn out to be as good as the 2005, which in all of Bordeaux is a far greater vintage than 2006. Lafite’s severe selection process (42% made it into the grand vin) resulted in a full-bodied wine boasting an extraordinary perfume of charcoal, truffles, lead pencil shavings, and sensationally sweet, ripe black currant and cedar notes. A wine of extraordinary intensity, texture, and depth with silky tannins as well as awesome concentration, this has turned out to be a remarkable Lafite Rothschild that should be drinkable much earlier than the 2005, but age for three decades. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2035+.
As so often with Lafite, it is power that marks this wine. That, and density of texture. The additional element in this vintage, and at this stage of the wine’s development, is a dominant wood element. The vanilla and tannins from the wood match well with the concentrated tannins of the fruit, which is dark, dense and tight. This is a wine for long-term aging: in 15 years this will have superb richness.
Plum, sweet tobacco and blackberry aromas follow through to a full body, offering a tight, chewy palate, yet with polished, refined tannins. Very long and caressing. This turns to a muscular and toned young wine. Gets better and better with age. Best after 2014.
Good full ruby-red. Very ripe aromas of cassis, graphite and cedar chips, lifted by peppery and floral high notes. Densely packed and superconcentrated but light on its feet, with compelling flavors of spicy berries and minerals. The very long, slow-building finish stains the palate with flavor. Very backward but not austere; and unlike some recent vintages of Lafite, which could appear deceptively light in the early going, this showcases its density and ripeness from the outset. I have the impression that most of the less-ripe fruit was declassified into the far lighter Carruades de Lafite , which shows a distinctly cool style for the year.
In tasting this wine over the course of several days, it transforms from the overt richness of puppy fat and new oak to a more supple enigma. The pure, clean fruit flavors of blueberry jam turn earthier, while the oak becomes more of a veil. This Lafite will require 20 years or more to begin to show its character, and it should reward those with the patience to wait.
Chateau Lafite RothschildView all wine
In 1868, Baron James de Rothschild became the owner of Lafite. He was a born dilettante, and it suited him to be the master of what, in 1855, was classified as first... View More
The Napa Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon are so intrinsically linked...
The [Napa Valley] and [Cabernet Sauvignon] are so intrinsically linked that it is difficult to discuss one without thinking of the other. Although Cabernet has many important outposts throughout the wine world, nowhere else has it achieved such success (and, at the highest end, commanded such lofty prices) than in Napa. Here, it is responsible for bold, opulent, and dark-fruited wines with grippy tannins and a healthy dose of alcohol. The best examples can age for decades. Each of Napa’s smaller sub-AVAs imparts a different character to Cabernet, such as [Rutherford’s] famous dust or [Stags Leap District's] tart cherry flavors.