Posted by: Andy Kelly
There’s probably not been a more deserving inductee into our Wine Heaven list. My experience with Château Lafon Rochet goes far beyond just the standard purchase of the bottle and subsequent tasting.
It actually dates back to my trip to Bordeaux in 2019 where I had the opportunity to visit the Château. I’d not heard of Lafon Rochet prior to my trip to Bordeaux. I distinctly remember being told by the tour guide who had ferried us through specific Châteaus that Lafon Rochet was known as the “yellow house” which was able to stand out amongst the vast array of greenery that envelops the Médoc. He wasn’t wrong.
Upon arrival at the Château, we were handed over to Guillaume (I am almost certainly spelling that wrong) who proceeded to take us on a tour of the grounds and explain in great detail the history of the vineyard. His tour was excellent. We got to see the two brand new warehouses that housed stainless steel and concrete tanks and I distinctly remember the oaky smell of the barrel room as we traversed down the endless rows of barrels trying to count how many different coopers had been used. Guillaume was knowledgeable, his English was impeccable and his stories about how the Château and its neighbours tackle hailstorms were incredible.
Our tasting took place overlooking the stunning rear garden of the Château, made all the more beautiful by the lovely summer Bordeaux was enjoying. I can’t exactly remember the vintages we tasted but I’m sure the exquisite 2009 was among them and became deal breaker when offered the chance to purchase some bottles.
I chose the 2011 as it was just a touch more reasonably priced than the 2009 (we’re talking a matter of 5 euros tops) and, interestingly, my dad chose the same.
The bottles then sat pride of place on our wine racks for just under a year when we’d decided to host a zoom wine tasting together. My parents, partner & I had enjoyed a good English sparkling (also a wine heaven inductee) and my mum suggested we crack open the Lafon Rochet. It was the same vintage on both racks so why not see if we got the same tastes from the two bottles. I was somewhat startled. I’m guilty of buying wines that I never seem to bring myself to drink as there isn’t an occasion special enough. Needless to say, I had been putting off drinking this as it looked too good on the rack. My dad enthusiastically agreed and that was that, I was hoodwinked into opening my bottle of Lafon Rochet. I don’t regret it for one second.
The customary smell of the cork garnered aromas of black wine gums and in the decanter the were strong aromas of blackcurrant.
The aromas remained fruit forward in the glass with blackcurrants, black cherries and blueberry dominating. Leather and earthy aromas also emanated from the glass too and it left me desperate to taste it.
Black fruits came through on the palate with a touch of vanilla, cigar box and chocolate too. It had a weighty mouthfeel, was fairly acidic and the tannins were mellow, drying my gums out long after the wine had gone down. The finish was excellent too. No way would I be having any other wines after this!
I am confident that this will go down among the best wines I’ve tasted in 2020, if not ever. It is definitely the best Saint-Estèphe I’ve ever tasted. But my experience with Lafon Rochet is so much more than that. Everything about my visit to the château, from the arrival, the information provided by Guillaume, right through to drinking the bottle, was outstanding and it really makes Lafon Rochet stand out from the crowd. It has been my most complete wine experience so far and given that wineries all over the world are adjusting to a brave new world post-coronavirus, they can learn a lot from Château Lafon Rochet.
If you’re ever in Bordeaux and you want to visit a top-notch winery or you just want to taste the very best of example of a Saint-Estèphe then you have to consider Château Lafon-Rochet.
Cheers Guillaume, I look forward to seeing you again.
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To read more about the wine click here
Image Courtesy of Wine-searcher.com