As one of Bordeaux’s First Growths, Chateau Lafite Rothschild has earned and enjoyed a reputation as one of the world’s greatest wines for more than 150 years. Along with its fellow First Growths Chateaux Margaux, Latour, Haut Brion and Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild is consistently hailed for its exceptional quality year after year and stands as one of the most exclusive wines money can buy. So much so in fact that, over the last decade, wine investors have seen prices for Chateau Lafite Rothschild’s futures market rival those of gold in terms of value and stability.
Located in Pauillac in the Medoc region of north-west Bordeaux near Chateau Mouton Rothschild and a number of other renowned Grand Crus, Chateau Lafite Rothschild occupies around a square kilometre of land, making it one of the region’s largest vineyards. The vineyard itself is composed of three main areas: the hillsides around the chateau, the Carruades plateau to the west and Saint Estephe. A deep, fine gravel soil mixed with aeolian sand on a bedrock of limestone contributes to the estate’s distinctive terroir..
Three main grape varieties are grown at Chateau Lafite Rothschild: typically 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The Grand Vin uses grapes harvested from vines with an average age of 45 years. The oldest plot is more than a century old.
After being hand-harvested and sorted, the grapes are vinified parcel by parcel. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats, before maturation in 100% new oak for the Grand Vin and a mixture of new and one year old oak barrels for second wine Carruades de Lafite. Production varies year on year, but no more than 20,000 cases of the Grand Vin are made each vintage. Up to 30,000 cases of Carruades de Lafite are made.
In 2008, Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) made the decision to begin developing a quality vineyard in the Chinese peninsula of Penglai, province of Shandong, opening a new chapter in Chateau Lafite Rothschild’s long and fascinating history.
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