Carruades de Lafite Pricing
Highest rated vintages for Carruades de Lafite
A spectacular value as well as a sleeper of the vintage is the 135,000-bottle cuvee of 2003 Carruades de Lafite (50% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Cabernet Franc). This amazing effort rivals such superb second wines as the 1989 Bahans-Haut-Brion and 1982 Forts de Latour. A serious red, it is sexy, opulent, rich, and luscious with silky tannin, enormous body, and wave after wave of mocha-infused black cherry and cassis fruit. It is almost too good to be believed. While drinkable now, it should evolve for 12-15 years or longer.
A blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, the 2008 exhibits graphite, sandalwood, black and red currant, chocolate and damp earth characteristics in its elegant, medium to full-bodied, fresh, lively personality. It is a delicious, luscious, already evolved wine to drink over the next 15+ years.
Lafite's second wine has become stronger over recent vintages as the selection for the grand vin has become Draconian under administrator Charles Chevalier. The dense ruby/purple-tinged 2004 Carruades de Lafite (48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) exhibits sweet, crunchy, savory, black cherry, and raspberry fruit along with hints of road tar, spring flowers, and a touch of minerality. Give it 1-2 years of cellaring, and drink it over the following 12-13.
A brilliant second wine, the 2000 Carruades de Lafite (51.4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42.3% Merlot, 4.9% Cabernet Franc, and 1.4% Petit Verdot), aged in 10-15% new French oak, shows wonderfully sweet lead pencil shavings intermixed with an elegant black cherry and cassis nose. A wine of tremendous purity, medium body, and the tell-tale Lafite elegance, this is a gorgeous wine to drink now and over the next 12-15 years.
This has become one of the finest second wines produced. The 1998 (a blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 4.5% Cabernet Franc, and 1.5% Petit Verdot) is an outstanding effort. While very Lafite-like (although more supple and forward), it exhibits a dense ruby/purple color in addition to an excellent bouquet of black fruits, smoke, earth, and minerals, supple tannin, an excellent texture, and a long, fine finish. Anticipated maturity: now-2015.
Another brilliant second wine, the 2010 Carruades de Lafite (50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42.5% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot) is elegant and amazing for a second wine from Lafite. 'Carruades de Lafite' is now engraved in the bottle to prevent unscrupulous sommeliers and merchants from trying to pass it off as Lafite Rothschild. The wine displays much of the same lead pencil, charcoal and black currant notes of its bigger sister, although it is forward, precocious and far less structured than the grand vin. Nevertheless, this wine, which can be drunk now, will cellar beautifully for at least 20-25 more years.
The 1999 Carruades de Lafite is made in the style of its bigger sibling. It reveals graphite, lead pencil, black currant, and cedary aromas, medium body, sweet glycerin, and a gorgeously expansive texture and palate. The wine is long and Lafite-like, and is unbelievably impressive. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2015.
Of course, the wine to buy in order to get a look at the Lafite Rothschild style and personality is their second wine, Carruades de Lafite, which has become very fashionable in Asia, causing the prices to soar. A very strong effort, the 2009 Carruades de Lafite may be the finest Carruades since the 2003. A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot and tiny amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it reveals lots of sweet cassis intermixed with subtle smoke and forest floor, undeniable lusciousness and full-bodied hedonism. The wood component is pushed to the background, and the wine is extremely viscous, round and delicious. Additional complexity should continue to emerge over the next decade and this 2009 should keep for 20-30 years.
A classic example of a second wine, the 2005 Carruades de Lafite reveals a dark ruby hue with some pink showing at the rim. The moderately intense nose of graphite, forest floor, and sweet black currant fruit is followed by a medium-bodied, elegant wine with light to moderate tannin. Drink it over the next 10-15 years.
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).