Château Lafite-Rothschild: Wines

The technical director since 1994 has been the aforementioned Charles Chevallier, replaced in late 2015 by Eric Kohler. He oversees winemaking here, together with oenologue Christophe Congé. Eric’s position also involves responsibility for overseeing operations at neighbouring estate Château Duhart Milon, as well as some responsibility to Château Rieussec in Sauternes and Château L’Évangile in Pomerol. After harvesting by hand, working to yields in the order of 50 hl/ha, and sorting by hand-and-eye over traditional tables, fermentation occurs in temperature-controlled wooden vats, with fruit maceration lasting between 18 and 25 days. The chai is equipped to facilitate the fermentation of separate small plots, and in 2010 was augmented with new vat rooms; the first is equipped with concrete tanks ranging from 50 to 125 hectolitres and is dedicated to the fermentation of Merlot, which is largely sourced from plots on the Carruades plateau.

Château Lafite-Rothschild

Once the alcoholic fermentation is finished the free-run and press wines are separated, and the former are translated into the second new room which contains stainless steel tanks ranging from 30 to 70-hectolitres in size, solely for the purpose of malolactic fermentation. To my knowledge there are no high-tech manipulations at Château Lafite-Rothschild, although Chevallier did reveal, as declared by Stephen Brook in Bordeaux, People, Power and Politics (Mitchell Beazley, 2001) that he had tried water removal by the sous vide method, essentially low-pressure and low-temperature evaporation, in the 1990 and 1991 vintages.

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