The 2005 Lafite-Rothschild is a gorgeous wine, but it is also very young. Readers lucky enough to own it will find a very classic, gracious Lafite-Rothschild that still needs a few years to be at its best. Bright red-toned fruit, crushed rocks, mint and licorice open first, followed by darker aromas and flavors that develop as the wine gains volume with air. Tasted next to its peers, Lafite is so typical of itself and less marked by the year. And that is one of the signs of a truly great terroir. Lafite-Rothschild is not as showy as many other wines in this vintage, but it is so true to its own identity, and that is the highest compliment I can pay it. The 2005 is 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, done in 100% new oak, which is not at all noticeable. At the time, the Cabernet percentage was quite high, but that has now become the norm. Tasted two times.
Anticipated maturity: 2025-2055
Robert Parker 96
Having tasted the 2005 Château Lafite-Rothschild several times both blind and non-blind, it comes across as a First Growth politely requesting more time to “settle”. Here, from an ex-château bottle tasted in Bordeaux, it delivers that graphite, pencil-box bouquet that unfurls gradually in the glass, biding its time, graceful but not intense. Parallel to some of its fellow 2005s, it is developing a little more spice, namely thyme and sage, than I recall. The palate is medium-bodied and beautifully balanced, to wit, a sophisticated Pauillac that priorities elegance and poise over intensity of fruit-in keeping with Lafite Rothschild’s style. You come away with the sense that it will take its time and decline, giving away a great deal in its primacy, even if it is still more approachable than the 2005 Latour for example. Therefore, I would be inclined to set this aside for several more years. Tasted November 2014.
Anticipated maturity: 2022-2050
89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot. Lovely deep purple colour in the glass with lifted violet and leafy black fruit on the nose. On the palate there was a cool, menthol edge with slightly subdued fruit and a surprising amount of oak evident. Perhaps not the best bottle? Fine texture on the palate with ripe, polished tannins, plenty of acidity and a racy feel on the finish. Still seems a young wine which will repay further ageing – I suspect this was a bottle in less-than-perfect condition (I scored a bottle tasted in 2009 a slightly higher 18.5/20), but expensive to find out at £750 a time. (AWH)
Anticipated maturity: 2025-2045