Chateau Lafite Rothschild   Lafite Rothschild

2003 Lafite Rothschild

By Chateau Lafite Rothschild

2003 Lafite Rothschild from Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux

In the pantheon of Bordeaux greats, the 2003 Lafite Rothschild from Chateau Lafite Rothschild holds a distinguished position. A testament to the resolve of both vine and vintner, this vintage emerged from a year defined by climatic extremes, making its eloquence in the bottle all the more remarkable.


Vintage Virtuosity in the Glass

The year 2003 was an anomaly; a scorching European summer that challenged the very tenets of winemaking in Pauillac. It is precisely this tussle against nature that imbues the 2003 Lafite Rothschild with its unique character—a confluence of ripe, almost exotic fruit with the poised intensity and structure synonymous to Chateau Lafite Rothschild.

On approaching the glass, one is greeted with an opulent bouquet where classic cassis melds with hints of truffle and tobacco—heralds of a mature Pauillac poised in its prime. The palate yields a tapestry of dense blackberry fruits and dark chocolate, intricately laced with tannins that whisper tales of the gravelly soils that bore them.


An Incandescent Investment Proposition

For connoisseurs and investors alike, understanding the nuance brought forth by this singular vintage is critical. The 2003 Lafite Rothschild captures an intersection of time, terroir, and human touch that renders it a singular addition to any discerning portfolio. Doubtlessly a profound expression from Chateau Lafite Rothschild, it is not only an indulgence for the senses but also stands as a inveigle for investors searching for wines with storied provenance and maturation prowess.

Indeed, as I reflect upon the glass before me, it is clear that the 2003 vintage from Chateau Lafite Rothschild emblazons itself as one of revelation—an offering that continues to evolve with grace and provide ongoing fascination for those vested in the artistry of fine wines.

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Scores and tasting notes


A modern day version of the 1959 Lafite, the 2003 Lafite Rothschild was bottled in mid-May, 2005 after achieving 12.9% natural alcohol – hardly an astonishing figure given the vintage’s weather conditions. A combination of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot, it represents a ripe version of the essence of Lafite-Rothschild. Dense purple-colored, with classic notes of graphite intertwined with melted licorice, creme de cassis, smoke, and flowers, it reveals extraordinary richness, opulence, power, purity, intensity, and viscosity. Whether this wine will close down or not is questionable as it is somewhat atypical given its sweetness and softness. Analytically, there are extremely high tannins, which I suspect will assert themselves in the future. Production in 2003 was less than half of normal. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2050.

Robert Parker Jr - Wine Advocate #164 April 2006


The 2003 Lafite Rothschild comes as close to perfection as any of the great Lafites made over the past three decades (1982, 1986, 1996, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010). This sensational effort came in at 12.7% natural alcohol, it is made in the style of one of this estate’s great classics, the 1959. Composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it exhibits a dense ruby/purple color to the rim along with a luxurious bouquet of cedarwood, lead pencil shaving, white chocolate, cocoa and cassis. Fat, rich, opulent and full-bodied with low acidity and stunning seductiveness and complexity, this noble wine possesses a bountiful, generous, heady style. It is just coming into its plateau of maturity where it should hold for 20-25 years. This is one of the candidates for the wine of the vintage – make no mistake about that. These are two great successes in this vintage that have aged well and surprised me by their intensity and overall complexity.

Robert Parker Jr - The Wine Advocate, 27 August 2014


Spicy and rich, with a tobacco and berry character on the nose and palate I love the nose. Full bodied, with soft velvety tannins that give you so much. This goes on and on. Sexy and exciting right now, but leave this for five or six years.

James Suckling -, March 14th 2011


Tasted at Bordeaux Index's "10-Year On" tasting in London. Comparing the wines side by side, the Lafite Rothschild '03 has a similar bouquet to the Latour but perhaps it retains just a little more delineation. It is more understated than Latour but offers lifted pencil shaving scents and hints of sous-bois. The palate is medium-bodied with a fleshy, sensual entry - layers of red berry fruit, mint, vanilla and white pepper. It is very composed towards the finish, nicely focused and stretches long in the mouth. I appreciate the refinement here, the composure and finesse. Tasted March 2013.

Neal Martin - Wine Journal May 2013

Vintage performance