CHATEAU LAFITE ROTHSCHILD
Perhaps the most globally recognized of the five great first growths, vines have been grown at Lafite-Rothschild since the 17th century. The property was controlled by the Ségur family until the late 18th century, after which it passed through various families, until the legendary Rothschilds bought it in 1868. The Rothschilds have kept standards exceptionally high despite various crises (phylloxera, the two World Wars, etc.). Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, the Rothschilds also expanded their holdings, purchasing several other Bordeaux estates including a neighboring Pauillac property, Château Duhart-Milon, and Château Rieussec in Sauternes.
Classic Pauillac free-draining gravel is ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon, which makes up the estate's most significant plantings, although there is also a healthy portion of Merlot, plus Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Lafite owns 112 hectares of well-exposed vineyards in three distinct areas: on the hillsides surrounding the château, on the Carruades plateau to the west, and a small amount in the neighbouring Saint-Estèphe appellation. Vines for the grand vin have an average age of 45 years, (although the oldest plot in use was planted in 1886!).
Grapes are hand harvested, and vinified separately by parcel to achieve the finest expression of character. The grapes are fermented in wooden vats, before being moved into oak barrels that have been toasted by the château's own cooperage. The grand vin spends 18 to 20 months in 100% new oak, whereas 80% of the second wine – Carruades de Lafite, a wine with a higher percentage of Merlot – is aged in oak, 10% of which is new.