Lafite Rothschild 1997
Tasting Notes and Scores
Only 26% of the crop made it into the final blend, resulting in only 15,000 cases of the 1997 Lafite-Rothschild. Readers should not ignore this wine because of the negative press surrounding the 1997 vintage. It boasts an opaque dense purple color in addition to a gorgeously sweet, expansive perfume of cedar wood, black currants, lead pencil, and minerals. What follows is a fat mid-palate, medium body, explosive fruit and richness, soft tannin, and a velvety texture. It is a beautiful, compelling Lafite-Rothschild that can be drunk young, yet promises to evolve for 15+ years. Although one of the most forward Lafites ever tasted, it is all the more captivating because of this characteristic. Don't miss it!
Tasted blind as a vintage comparison at the Valandraud vertical, the 1997 Lafite-Rothschild appears to be a wine that sparkled in its youth, but is not maturing with the grace and style of other vintages after almost 20 years. It has a well-defined bouquet with crushed strawberry, wet sand and light tobacco notes that gradually unfurl. I appreciate the precision here - typical Lafite-Rothschild. The palate is medium-bodied with a gentle grip on the entry, a little foursquare with some dryness towards the attenuated finish. It feels bound together by the fine thread of acidity, yet the long and short of it is that while its descent will be gradual, it will not repay continued bottle ageing. Tasted December 2016.
Wonderfully complex on the nose, with licorice, spice, berry and tobacco character. Medium-bodied, with fine tannins and a delicious finish. James Suckling
Very good deep red color. Complex aromas of black cherry, currant, chocolate, herbs, licorice and tobacco leaf. Fairly sweet and dense on the palate, with very good concentration and firm acidity for the year. This is aged in 100% new oak, but the wood is very much in the background. Finishes very long and subtle, with excellent grip and a suggestion of earthy terroir