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Primus Inter Pares: Château Lafite

Nick Jackson, MW | August 1, 2020

1986 - 2003 - 2005 - 2008 - 2009 - 2015 - 2016

While all the Bordeaux First Growth properties occupy a rarified position in the wine firmament, for many of us, there is something particularly special about Château Lafite. If you have never tried Lafite before, you might expect a powerful or exuberant wine. But it is neither. Lafite is deceptively light on its feet, often only medium bodied, belying its Pauillac origins.

Lafite’s magic is to showcase a searing intensity and beauty within a humble frame. Lafite achieves a degree of filigree detail and cedary aromatic complexity virtually never found in Cabernet Sauvignon wines; its understatement made all the more impressive by its almost limitless ageing potential.

Of the vintages available below, the 1986 is wonderful today and the 2003 is also open for business. Of the more recent vintages, I particularly note 2005 and 2016 as being modern classics; must-haves if you are a serious First Growth collector, particularly in those rare large formats.