CHÂTEAU LAFON-ROCHET

2017 4ème Cru Classé Saint Estèphe

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Saint Estèphe
Classification 4ème Cru Classé

Another great St Estephe - this does seem to be one of the more successful villages this year. Nice feel. Chalky texture and hard calcaire middle. Fruit is pretty, elevated with punchy dark currants. Nice and 'clarerty' just as you would hope, firm and restrained. Feel and depth are good though. Long too. 55%Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 6% Cbernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot. Rating: 91 L&S (Apr 2018)

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The 2017 Lafon-Rochet has matured in 50% new oak and the remainder in one-year old. I have to say, the bouquet is very expressive with plenty of blackberry, wild hedgerow, oyster shell and pressed flower that blossom in the glass. It is very well defined and more sophisticated than I have detected in recent vintages. Perhaps this is the first vintage where the new winery, replete with concrete vats, has really played a serious role in meliorating quality. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit, quite saline in the mouth with just a hint of black olive. There is a slightly grainy texture with a sustained peppery finish, completing a crisp and vivacious Lafon-Rochet that should please many wine-lovers. Expect this to land at the top of my banded score. Drinking range: 2020 - 2040 Rating: 91-93 Neal Martin, vinous.com(May 2018)

Tangy, almost salty, nose. Smooth, layered, very fine texture. Not hugely fruity but balanced with a long, elegant aftertaste following a relatively light mid palate. Longer than it is deep but attractive. Drinking range: 2024 - 2032 Rating: 16.5 Julia Harding MW, www.JancisRobinson.com(Apr 2018)

This is a lovely St-Estèphe this year, firm and bright with bristling fruit right out of the gate - hugely unusual to see that this year. This is one of my favourites, and is totally charming with its cassis and damson fruit, but it's the juice and friendly tension that sets it apart. Silky and enjoyable. Buy. Drinking range: 2025 - 2040 Rating: 93 Jane Anson, Decanter(Apr 2018)

Solid, ultra-clean 2017 with a very pretty core of fruit and chewy tannins. Flavorful and fresh. Extremely long and focused. Rating: 92 - 93 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com(Apr 2018)

Prominent savory and tobacco notes lead to the core of crunchy pomegranate and black cherry fruit, with a lightly brisk finish. Rating: 87-90 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator(Apr 2018)

This has a dark, smoky, flinty, matchsticky and really quite reductive character on the nose. The plate has a bright substance with a lot of dark grip to it, the palate imbued with ripe, robust, sooty tannins. The fruit wrapped around these tannins feels very dark, smoky and toasted, lacking a little definition, but certainly robust and confident in style. A lot of tannic grip at the finish. A huge wine which will hopefully come good in bottle. Rating: 90-92 Chris Kissack, www.thewinedoctor.com(Apr 2018)

Château Lafon-Rochet

Saint Estèphe Quatrième cru 1855 A somewhat complicated history eventually placed the Rochet vineyard - so named due to its rocky soil - into the hands of the Lafon family in the early years of the 17th Century. The family owned the estate until 1895. It passed through several hands until Guy Tesseron, who's family had prospered in the Cognac business, bought the, now run-down, estate in the 1960's. Guy completely renovated Lafon-Rochet, even to the extent of demolishing all of the delapidated buildings and rebuilding a grand 18th Century style chateau, which was painted yellow to match the labels. Thus Lafon-Rochet are almost unique among Haut-Médoc châteaux in being built in the 20th Century. In the 1960's Château Lafon-Rochet's vineyards consisted of just 15ha of Merlot. Today, there are 41ha under vine, and at a more Médoc-like 54% Cabernet Sauvignon. The Grand Vin spends up to 20 months in wood (50% ish new). Sitting inland from Cos d'Estournel, facing across the Jalle de Brieul at Duhart Milon and Lafite, Lafon-Rochet has some very noble neighbours. The Tesseron family also own Château Pontet-Canet.

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