Chateau Lafite Rothschild   Carruades de Lafite

1996 Carruades de Lafite

By Chateau Lafite Rothschild

1996 Carruades de Lafite from Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux

The 1996 Carruades de Lafite from Chateau Lafite Rothschild represents not merely a second wine from a cherished chateau, but a testament to the distinguished vintage that was 1996 in Pauillac. As a venerated critic, I've had the opportunity to follow the trajectory of this wine through its evolution, and it continues to intrigue me with its expressive vitality, even with the passage of nearly three decades.


A Vintage That Speaks Volumes

The harvest of 1996 was a remarkable departure from preceding years in Bordeaux. The season heralded back to classic conditions with a relatively dry and warm summer, punctuated by timely rains just before harvest. This allowed for an exceptional balance between fruit ripeness and structural tannins – a duality that is explicitly pronounced in the 1996 Carruades de Lafite.


Refinement and Structure: A Navigated Balance

On pouring, one can't help but admire the garnet hue that belies its age, as if the wine has been conversing with time itself. On the nose, the intricate dance of blackcurrant, cedar wood, and a wisp of Havana tobacco is unmissable. The palate reveals a tapestry woven with layers of dark berry compote, distinctive graphite, and a touch of spice that lingers though never imposes.

The structure of this wine speaks of deliberate craftsmanship - firm yet refined tannins escorting a finish that is elongated by eloquent acidity. In terms of investment potential, the 1996 Carruades de Lafite presents an engaging proposition; it stands at a point where long-term cellaring converges gracefully with near-term enjoyment.


Cultivating Investment Savvy with Provenance

For investors and enthusiasts seeking wines with proven lineage, investing in Lafite carries the hallmark of exclusivity and promise. A bottle of 1996 Carruades de Lafite from Chateau Lafite Rothschild sits poised as an alluring asset amidst ones collection; it encapsulates the vitality of Bordeaux's prestigious terroir coupled with the foresight imbued by enlightened winemaking.

Each year unfurls nuances within this wine's fabric – it continues to reward those who have afforded it patience. As its journey continues to trace a path defined by sustainable appreciation, connoisseurs and investors alike are invited to discover what makes the 1996 vintage a remarkable chapter in the storied annals of Pauillac.

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Highest score


POP score


Scores and tasting notes


A very intense, expressive nose of blackberry, espresso and an animal quality. Good definition, almost Rhone-like. Smooth entry, full-bodied. Blackberry, coffee, huge tannins. Muscular, again almost Rhone-like. Very high extraction with a pain grille finish. Needs another five years at least. Slight astringency on the finish. Tasted September 2006.

Neal Martin - Wine Advocate - Wine Journal


I have noticed in my tastings that the second wine of Lafite-Rothschild, Carruades de Lafite, has improved over recent years. The 1996, a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon and 37% Merlot, may turn out to be the finest Carruades I have ever tasted. It possesses as much power, ripeness, and fleshy fruit (because of the high percentage of Merlot) as I have ever detected in this offering. While it does not quite have the characteristics of Lafite, being fleshier and more accessible, it is a beautifully made wine with a subtle dosage of toasty new oak, an appealing texture, and excellent length. Given its power, this second wine will need 2-4 years of cellaring, and keep for 15+ years (I would not be surprised to see it last for two decades).

Robert Parker Jr - The Wine Advocate, 22 February 1998

Vintage performance