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A blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Merlot, this wine represents only 34% of Lafite's total harvest. In a less than perfect Medoc vintage, it has been spectacular since birth, putting on more weight and flesh over the last year. This opaque purple-colored 1998 is close to perfection. The spectacular nose of lead pencil, smoky, mineral, and black currant fruit soars majestically from the glass. The wine is elegant yet profoundly rich, revealing the essence of Lafite's character. The tannin is sweet, and the wine is spectacularly layered yet never heavy. The finish is sweet, super-rich, yet impeccably balanced and long (50+ seconds). Anticipated maturity: 2007-2035.
Robert Parker (Wine Advocate #134, Apr 2001)
The 1998 Lafite-Rothschild is served from double magnum directly from the château reserves, in fact with the man who made it sitting opposite me – Charles Chevalier. I must admit to being quite amazed how well this shows at 20-years of age, trouncing all the other First Growths except Haut-Brion. Lucid in colour, it has a vivid bouquet of pure blackberry, blueberry, vanilla and graphite, perhaps just a little uncharacteristically showy in style, but beautifully defined and intense. The palate is perfectly balanced with layers of ripe black fruit, perfectly pitched acidity and a silky smooth texture that renders this utterly seductive. It is almost too good for me to recommend cellaring longer. Whatever...it is a sublime Lafite-Rothschild that on this showing, may well challenge the supremacy of the 1996. Tasted at the Académie du Vin dinner in Bordeaux.
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.
Quality 906 | Brand 999 | Economics 973 |
Quality: Predicted life of 16 years, one of the longest drinking windows in its peer group, which averages 9 years Brand: #2 Most sought after wine globally, with 87,284 searches on Wine-Searcher per month Economics: #3 most active wine at auction, its top 5 vintages having seen 4,733 75cl equivalent bottles traded in the past year Production: Higher production than its peer group average of 151,058 bottles
- www.wine-lister.com June 2017
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