Quite deep purple. Inky. Very Cabernet nose. Smooth and more than a hint of Lafite's trademark dancing elegance. Gentle start and quite a dry finish, but very, very respectable and true to the vintage. Quite long. 17.5/20 points (JR)
Beautiful and subtle on the nose, with mineral, berry, licorice and dark chocolate. Full-bodied, with supersilky tannins and a pretty balance of fruit and mint. Long and caressing. Real claret here. Everyone talks about 1989, but this is very close in quality. (JS, Web Only-2009)
Tasted blind, the 1988 Lafite-Rothschild surprises everyone by surpassing both the 1989 and 1990. It has that unmistakable classic nose of pencil lead and cedar, less primary fruit than that aforementioned pair, yet greater precision, more focus and more class. The palate is both clean and precise with exquisite balance, fine tannins, cedar and tobacco infusing the black fruit with pencil lead notes becoming more accentuated towards the finish. It has been a while since I last tasted the 1988 and to be honest, I cannot remember it being this good. But now, of the three vintages that tailend the decade I would choose the 1988 Lafite-Rothschild. Tasted at the Lafite-Rothschild 150th anniversary dinner at the property. (NM)
Tasted seven times since bottling with consistent notes. Broodingly backward and in need of considerable bottle age, the 1988 is a classic expression of Lafite. This deeply-colored wine exhibits the tell-tale Lafite bouquet of cedar, subtle herbs, dried pit fruits, minerals, and cassis. Extremely concentrated, with brilliantly focused flavors and huge tannins, this backward, yet impressively endowed Lafite-Rothschild may well turn out to be the wine of the vintage! Anticipated maturity: 2000-2035. (RP)
This was a vintage that remained tight and closed for a long time. They are just starting to drink this at the chateau apparently, as Salin says it is their dinner wine right now. The salinity is coming through, giving a sappy grip through the mid palate, the effortless racy elegance of an older Cabernet Sauvignon with its truffles, smoked cedar, its grilled black fruits. Colour wise this is very much still intact, just a slight bricking at the edges. A lovely example of how you should never give up on wines from great estates – there will always be a moment when the terroir will out, as we saw on recent tastings of the 1975. The 1988 is certainly having one of those moments, and its long finessed finish should be savoured. 72% Cabernet Sauvignon. (JA)
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