*Cellar Selection and Top 100 Wines of 1997* A luscious Lafite that is silky and elegant with layers of wonderful violet, berry, cherry and chocolate flavors. It's full-bodied, with racy, refined tannins and good length. Drinkable now, but best from 1999 and through another decade.
Because Lafite-Rothschild (1) tends to lack the weight of many wines of the northern Medoc, and (2) is never a flashy, ostentatious style of wine, it is often more difficult to evaluate when young than some of its neighbors. Made from nearly 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this dark ruby/purple-colored wine is stubbornly backward, unappealing, and severe and astringent on the palate. There is plenty of weight, and the wine possesses admirable purity, with no suggestion of herbaceousness or underripe fruit, but the wine's personality refuses to be coaxed from the glass. The 1994 Lafite may turn out to be austere and disappointing flavor-wise, but possesses a fabulous set of aromatics (does that sound reminiscent of the 1961, another Lafite that was primarily Cabernet Sauvignon?). I am not giving up on this wine, but purchasers should be willing to wait 15-20 years before pulling a cork. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2030. (RP)
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