The 2003 Lafite Rothschild comes as close to perfection as any of the great Lafites made over the past three decades (1982, 1986, 1996, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010). This sensational effort came in at 12.7% natural alcohol, it is made in the style of one of this estate’s great classics, the 1959. Composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it exhibits a dense ruby/purple color to the rim along with a luxurious bouquet of cedarwood, lead pencil shaving, white chocolate, cocoa and cassis. Fat, rich, opulent and full-bodied with low acidity and stunning seductiveness and complexity, this noble wine possesses a bountiful, generous, heady style. It is just coming into its plateau of maturity where it should hold for 20-25 years. This is one of the candidates for the wine of the vintage – make no mistake about that. These are two great successes in this vintage that have aged well and surprised me by their intensity and overall complexity. (RP)
Spicy and rich, with a tobacco and berry character on the nose and palate I love the nose. Full bodied, with soft velvety tannins that give you so much. This goes on and on. Sexy and exciting right now, but leave this for five or six years.
This is a splendid wine. Yes, it is more powerful than the usual aristocratic Lafites, but it still manages to retain a special air of great elegance and presence. The fruits are black, the tannins immensely powerful, the flavors are of black figs, dates, cocoa. At the end, there is a vibrant acidity that shows through, which promises a great life for this great wine. (RV)
The 2003 Lafite-Rothschild famously shrugged off the merciless heat of that infamous summer when the temperature at the estate nudged 42° Celsius. It has a lovely bouquet of black plum, pressed iris, a touch of glycerin and (for Lafite) exotic scents of blood orange. The palate is powerful and intense as you would expect. There is great depth and volume with glossy black fruit laced with orange zest, smoke and melted tar. You can almost feel the summer in this Lafite-Rothschild but unlike many of its peers, it has requisite acidity to maintain freshness and avoid cloyingness on the finish. Whilst not my pick of modern-day Lafites, I have to doff my cap because it was and still is, one of the finest Left Banks of the vintage. Tasted at the Lafite-Rothschild 150th anniversary dinner at the estate. (NM)
Subtle, complex aromas of berries, licorice and currants. Full-bodied, with well-integrated tannins and a long finish. Very well-integrated wine. Lovely stuff. Wonderful length and finesse. (JS)
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