Chateau Lafite Rothschild is known for producing what some tasters think is the best Bordeaux wine in the appellation. With a roots stemming back as far as 1234, it's only right we take the time to appreciate some of its rich history.
1. Even though the property was not in the Bordeaux wine business during 1234, it is thought that vines were already planted on their unique terroir. It was not until around 1680, that the majority of the vineyards of what we know of as Lafite Rothschild today were created. Jacques de Segur planted the vineyard at that time. We know this because on the 1680 estate manifest, there are six mentions to the properties Bordeaux vineyards.
2. Chateau Lafite Rothschild is one of the earliest major Bordeaux estates to bottle their own wine. In 1890, they bottled a large portion of the wine and again in 1906. Part of the estate bottling was due to requests from negociants who were willing to pay more for Chateau bottled wines. Also, it’s important to note that part of estate bottling was conduced to combat piracy. At the time, it was known that merchants in some countries, like Russia were bottling cheap wine and placing labels from Lafite Rothschild on the bottles.
3. Starting in about 2008, Lafite Rothschild became the most collectible wine from Bordeaux. Prices exploded due to an ever increasing demand from China . Lafite Rothschild became the status symbol of choice for millionaire wine collectors. There are multiple theories as to why this happened. The most widely accepted reason is, Lafite paid for product placement on the number one rated Chinese soap opera on television. Characters in that show were pictured enjoying life with Lafite Rothschild and since that time, prices for Lafite Rothschild have shot up and continue to rise!
4. Lafite Rothschild is the largest of the First Growth vineyards with close to 112 hectares of vines. A large portion of the estate is taken up with stunningly, beautiful landscaping, lakes, trees and parkland. Lafite Rothschild also maintains close to 50 hectares of marshland and greenery where they allow an ancient species of wild cow to live. The breed of cow is nearly extinct. The cows do not produce milk, nor are they raised as cattle for meat.
5. The average annual production of Chateau Lafite Rothschild ranges from 15,000 to 20,000 cases of wine per year, depending on the vintage. There is a second wine, Carruades de Lafite, which due to the name and association with the Grand Cru, has also become extremely collectible. Carruades de Lafite takes its name from a specific section of their vineyard that is located near Mouton Rothschild. Carruades is actually one of the older second wines in Bordeaux, as it was first produced in the mid 1850’s. About 100 years later during the mid 1960s, the estate reintroduced their second wine naming it Moulin de Carruades. The name was changed again in the 1980’s to Carruades de Lafite. There is also a third wine which is sold as a Pauillac that is produced from declassified fruit from Lafite Rothschild and Duhart Milon.
6. Chateau Lafite Rothschild is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages can be decanted for 2-4 hours. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Lafite Rothschild is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Lafite Rothschild is also good when matched with Asian dishes, rich fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms and pasta.