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2020 Ch. Lafon Rochet
An Exceptional Success
January 23, 2024
Lafon Rochet is a fourth growth chatesu in the southern part of St. Estephe. Its wines often lean toward the style of neighboring Pauillac. Since 1960, it has benefited from forward-looking investments by Guy and his son, Michel Tesseron. The consulting winemaker is Jean-Paul Berrouet, of Petrus fame, especially interesting since Lafon Rochet's Merlot is on the same blue clay soils as Pomerol.
2020 was an exceptional vintage for the chateau, as evinced by the critics' notes below. It is extraordinarily value for the money, particularly at our price. Estimates of the beginning top the drivnkng window range from now to 2030. All predict a long life.
Antonio Galloni Vinous "represents the essence of classicism in Bordeaux. Medium in body and finely-cut, Lafon-Rochet is one of the classiest, more refined Saint-Estèphes readers will come across. Dark fruit, earthiness, lavender, licorice, menthol and cloves add nuance, but it is the wine's balance and vibrancy that impress most. Give the tannins a few years to melt away. Superb."
Neal Martin, Vinous "It has quite an expressive bouquet, leaning more towards black fruit, touches of undergrowth and pencil box. This is very harmonious … The palate is medium-bodied with very pliant tannins, well judged acidity, fresh and displaying commendable depth. Hints of black pepper and cedar, a pleasing strictness on the finish, whereas I commented that it was quite Pomerol-like out of barrel, now it is much more Pauillac in style, with graphite lingering on the aftertaste. Excellent."
Georgina Hindle Decanter "This has a delicate, seductive charm to it, slowly displaying scented blueberries and raspberries before layers of salty minerality, liquorice and cooling blue fruits come into play. It's not immediately upfront, more calm and collected, slowly growing in stature and presence. Tannins are fine but mouthcoating; this isn't a light wine but is elegant. Textured, chalky wet stone and a grainy element with tobacco and liquorice. Impressive complexity and drama. Sophisticated, intellectual, luminous and detailed. Sublime and just gets better and better."
William Kelley, Wine Advocate "opens in the glass with aromas of cassis, plums and licorice, followed by a medium to full-bodied, deep palate with good concentration, lively acids and plenty of powdery structuring tannin that asserts itself on the finish. This, too, is more structured than its 2019 counterpart and will require a bit of patience.
2020 Ch. Lafon-Rochet $59
Special six-bottles $299 (49.83)
twelve bottle $598
- Len Rothenberg
downtown on orders more than $75;
in Greater Boston on orders more than $199