En Primeur Releases: 20 May 2021

Giles Cooper

20 May 2021

The "classy, complete, aristocratic" Lafon Rochet 2020

There's always been something very charming about Lafon Rochet, with its 'Balamory-esque' golden yellow Chateau and its effortlessly civilised owner Basile Tesseron. It's no slouch on the vineyard front either, with over 40 prime St Estephe hectares in one contiguous block (albeit divided into dozens of individual parcels) covering a fascinating mix of soils and aspects with gravel basins, clay slopes (including the famous 'blue' clay as found on the Pomerol plateau) and limestone escarpments. It also borders Cos d'Estournel to the north and the northern reaches of 1st Growth Pauillac Lafite Rothschild to the south; no ordinary neighbours!

Planted mainly to Cabernet Sauvignon, on the gravel sections, with Merlot making up the majority of the remainder on the clay and limestone soils, it almost mimics Figeac in its blend of Right and Left Bank styles: plushness and texture balance beautifully with cedary, graphite precision – and in 2020, they have done a truly splendid job. For not only has the new winery, completed in 2015, really started to show its capabilities, but a new winemaking and blending 'dream team' was formed when master consultant Eric Boissenot joined Basile and established consultant Jean-Claude Berrouet, formerly of Petrus (and father of current Petrus winemaker Olivier Berrouet) to form this wonderful new vintage.

The results are extremely impressive especially at such a friendly price:

"this is a measured, successful wine that will age well" (Jane Anson)
"well done Basile Tesseron for producing something so appetising and groundbreaking" (James Lawther)
"Classy, complete, aristocratic wine" (Michael Schuster)

So join us in revisiting what is certainly the best quality/value estate in St Estephe, and arguably the whole of the Medoc...

20 May 2021 Releases
20 May 2021 Releases, Image 1

Lafon Rochet 2020 tasting notes and prices

93pts Jane Anson, Decanter "Attractive, well-paced fruits, plenty of clarity to the flavours, together with a feeling of linearity to the tannins. Austerity through the mid-palate constrains the brambled cassis fruit, but things build back up again and this is a measured, successful wine that will age well. 3% Petit Verdot completes the blend. First year with Eric Boissenot accompanying Jean-Claude Berrouet as consultants."

17/20pts JL, jancisrobinson.com "Deep lustrous purplish crimson. Interesting vitality to the nose, almost as though biodynamic techniques were employed here. Lovely balance of ripeness and vitality. This is a very successful 2020. It may be dismissed by some because the tannins are not obvious but it's a delightful drink – already! Very distinctive. Perhaps not for seriously long-term cellaring but well done Basile Tesseron for producing something so appetising and groundbreaking. The finish is impressively persistent. 13.5%"

93-94pts James Suckling "Blackberry and spice with firm, chewy tannins that show polish and focus. It’s medium-to full-bodied with excellent energy. Blackberry and blackcurrant character on the finish with a touch of cedar and spice."

92-94pts Michael Schuster, WOFW "Freshly cassis-sweet to smell, a hint of gravel; medium-full, fresh in acidity, very finely tannic; succulently rich yet restrained, a classic “drier" claret profile, but freshly sweet-cored, beautifully textured, long, and graceful, concentrated without being in any way thick, and with an absolutely lovely farewell, a perfect mirror of all the tastes before. Classy, complete, aristocratic wine."

GBP 325 per case/12 IB

Other formats are available:

Halves – GBP 345 per case/24 IB

Magnums – GBP 335 per case/6 IB

Double magnums – GBP 415 per case/3 IB

Imperials – GBP 262 each IB