Chateau Lafite Rothschild


The vineyard includes three large areas: the hills around the Château, the Carruades plateau contiguous to the west and a 4.5 ha plot in the neighbouring town of Saint-Estèphe. The surface is 112 ha, they are fine gravel, deep, mixed with aeolian sands on a tertiary limestone subsoil, well drained and well exposed.

The grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Merlot (25%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (2%).

The average age of the vines is 39 years, but you should know that vines less than 10 years old do not fit into the great wine, which means that the age of the vines giving the great wine is more of the order. 45 years old on average. The oldest plot, known as “La Gravière”, was planted in 1886.

The management of the property  has been carried out since 1962 by a unique team supervising Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Duhart-Milon given the contiguity of the two properties. Eric Kohler, Technical Director of Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Duhart-Milon, is assisted by Christophe Congé, Oenologist and Winemaker, and Louis Caillard, Vineyard Manager.

The techniques  used are therefore completely identical between the two Châteaux and remain traditional, they integrate a strict control of the yields, a harvest by hand and many works carried out manually throughout the year. Little or no chemical fertilizers and some manure additions allow the vines to reach a high age, the uprooting is only done against the will when the vines are generally over 80 years old.

The Cellar

The harvest from each plot is treated in separate vats to initially keep the identity of the terroir on which the grapes have matured. At Lafite, tradition and technical progress complement each other, fermentation takes place in two vats: the traditional vat room made up of large oak vats and the modern vat room made up of stainless steel vats, integrated cooling and reheating rings, centralized automation and controls. temperatures. 

At the end of the alcoholic fermentation, the vats are subjected to a first tasting before being passed into vats of fine wine, the "free-run wine", the marc for their part are pressed independently to extract the " press wine ”. A new fermentation 

phase, called malolactic, is carried out in vats before placing in barrels, batch by batch.

In 2010, Lafite refined its system by building two vats made up of several dozen small capacity tanks. A Merlot vat (cement vats of 50 to 125 hl) in order to vinify with particular attention the different plot lots of Merlot. A divisional vat room (30 to 70 hl stainless steel vats) dedicated to malolactic fermentation (second fermentation) in order to extend the plot selection until the end of the complete vinification process for all batches that require it, whether in Cabernet or in merlot.

All barrels come from the Tonnellerie des Domaines with a specific adaptation of the “toasting” to the characteristics of the wine during production. Several tastings of each vat are carried out in December for a strict selection of the great wine. The blend is made at the first racking of the barrels in March. The stage of maturing and aging of the wine in the cellar begins, a stage which will be spread over a period of 18 to 20 months. During this period, the cellar master will operate a series of rackings, which aim to separate the sediment from the lees of the clean wine, and a "fining", the addition in each barrel of four and six slightly beaten egg whites. in snow which will coagulate the last particles in suspension and precipitate them at the bottom of the barrel. The wine is then ready for bottling which takes place all at once in June.

The circular cellar of Château Lafite Rothschild was built under the direction of the architect Ricardo Bofill and inaugurated in 1987. Intended for maturing second year wines, it is characterized by its atypical octagonal shape and a vault supported by 16 columns. . It can accommodate up to 2,200 barrels.