Chateau Lafite Rothschild   Lafite Rothschild

1996 Lafite Rothschild

By Chateau Lafite Rothschild

1996 Lafite Rothschild from Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux

Embodied in the storied terroir of Pauillac, the 1996 Lafite Rothschild from Chateau Lafite Rothschild represents an epochal Bordeaux vintage—radiating a splendour that only mature classic clarets can boast. The grandeur of this wine lies not solely in the veneration its name carries, but in the precise orchestration of nature and nurture that this particular year has borne witness to.


A Distinguished Pedigree

As one traverses the landscape of fine wine investment, names such as the 1996 Lafite Rothschild frequently crest the horizon, and for enthusiasts and investors alike, this vintage holds a gravitas that few others can claim. The season's generous weather bestowed an ideal ripeness upon the grapes, as the Cabernet Sauvignon reached a state of near-perfect balance—a fulcrum upon which this wine's character leverages its poise and depth.


A Vintage of Character and Complexity

The intricate layers unveiled in each glass of this extraordinary wine divulge notes of blackberry, cassis, and hints of cedarwood intertwined with a whisper of graphite—an olfactory tapestry as opulent as it is enigmatic. The 1996 Lafite Rothschild's palate is as resplendent today as it was at its inception; a lavish texture carrying forth robust tannins that have matured into silky murmurs underpinned by a vibrant acidity crucial for long cellar life.

The crescendo of flavours culminates in an elongated finish that lingers with a svelte elegance. Age has conferred upon this vintage an intellectual complexity whilst preserving its inherent vivacity—a duality that affirms its stature within one’s portfolio.

In vintages such as the 1996 Lafite Rothschild from Chateau Lafite Rothschild, we find not only an oenophile’s treasure but a linchpin for the astute investor. Few wines manage to capture the confluence of climatic grace and vinicultural mastery as this bottle does—an emblematic embodiment of Pauillac at its most profound.


In Closing: A Vintage Worthy Of The Portfolio

The 1996 vintage stands out as one of remarkable composure and nobility. As it continues to evolve within specially curated cellars, this wine proves to be a testament to the fluency and foresight embedded in the narrative of fine wine investment. Each bottle of 1996 Lafite Rothschild from Chateau Lafite Rothschild carries with it not only the promise of a storied past but also the potentiality of prosperous returns.

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Scores and tasting notes


Tasted three times since bottling, the 1996 Lafite-Rothschild is unquestionably this renowned estate's greatest wine. As I indicated last year, only 38% of the crop was deemed grand enough to be put into the final blend, which is atypically high in Cabernet Sauvignon (83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot). This massive wine may be the biggest, largest-scaled Lafite I have ever tasted. It will require many years to come around, so I suspect all of us past the age of fifty might want to give serious consideration as to whether we should be laying away multiple cases of this wine. It is also the first Lafite-Rothschild to be put into a new engraved bottle (designed to prevent fraudulent imitations). The wine exhibits a thick-looking, ruby/purple color, and a knock-out nose of lead pencil, minerals, flowers, and black currant scents. Extremely powerful and full-bodied, with remarkable complexity for such a young wine, this huge Lafite is oozing with extract and richness, yet has managed to preserve its quintessentially elegant personality. This wine is even richer than it was prior to bottling. It should unquestionably last for 40-50 years. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2050. The wine of the vintage?

Robert Parker Jr - Wine Advocate #122 April 1999


The 1996 Lafite-Rothschild was remarkably deep in color considering that it is now 20 years in age. The bouquet is classic Pauillac with pencil shavings and sous-bois infusing the black fruit, masculine and a little aloof, yet focused and very well delineated. The palate is very well balanced with crisp blackberry and boysenberry fruit, spicier than I recollect, a crescendo of flavors so that it seems understated at first but fans out with a sense of confidence towards the finish. I think this still has more to give so cellar it away for another 5-8 years if you can, but otherwise this is an exemplary Lafite-Rothschild that I can envisage getting better and better in bottle, if not quite as enthralling as either Mouton-Rothschild or Château Margaux. Tasted July 2016.

Neal Martin - The Wine Advocate, 28 October 2016


First tasted at the Farr horizontal in January 2003. Deeper than 1995. Nose is closed. Tobacco and wood with a touch of liquorice. Fine definition. Very concentrated palate - full-bodied. At an adolescent stage. Earthy/cigar-box notes. Quite austere on finish. Vin de garde. Very fine indeed. Then at the Lafite vertical in November 2005. Opaque purple/black colour. Just an incredible nose: blackberry, roasted herbs, pain grille all with brilliant definition. Absolutely stunning. The palate is very backward with firm, masculine tannins. Perfect acidity. Dense, earthy black fruits, minerals with a touch of black truffle developing. Incredible concentration and a perfect wine that marries power and finesse. Very complex. Brilliant, but a long-term wine. Leave it 10 years or more. Last tasted in September 2006 when it was just a little more herbaceous than I expected.

Neal Martin - Wine Advocate - Wine Journal

Vintage performance