Chateau Lafite Rothschild, the Bordeaux first growth, has unveiled a new wine to its lineup, the first new wine in over 100 years since the creation of Carruades de Lafite in the late 19th century.
Named Anseillan, the inaugural vintage will be 2018, made from 48% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Petit Verdot, according to the storied Pauillac estate. The third wine of the first growth after its better known grand vin Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Carruades de Lafite, carries a more affordable price tag than its siblings at US$99 a bottle.
“The initiation of the project dates back to 2014, during a blending session for the Lafite team. It started out slowly, at first making just a few hundred magnums every year,” Saskia de Rothschild, DBR Lafite’s executive chairwoman explained. “We waited to see how those bottles evolved. In 2021, we tasted all the trials we had produced for every past vintage and found there was something there. That’s when the team decided to release this wine with the vintage 2018.”
Its name comes from a 16th century hamlet that has been part of the Lafite estate since it was fully assembled by Baron Elie de Rothschild in 1970.
Unlike its more hefty Grand Vin that has been sought after by collectors, the Lafite family expects the well-priced third wine to be more accessible for wine lovers and diners at restaurants.
Saskia de Rothschild says that the team’s objective for this well-priced wine is that it will be “. . . shared at restaurant tables around the world that have sometimes forgotten how good it is to open a bottle of Bordeaux.” Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2018 on average sells for around HKD 10,000 (US$1300) a bottle, according to Wine Searcher.
“The Anseillan vineyard is an incredible playground in terms of terroir as there are three different soils, gravelly, clay and clay-limestone,” said Louis Caillard, Lafite’s director of viticulture. “Today, we are responsible for restructuring it for the fifty or hundred years to come.” After harvest, grapes from the various plots are vinified separately in concrete, wood and stainless-steel tanks, aged in barrels made by the domain’s own tonnellerie and then blended before release.
The Anseillan vineyards surround the hamlet, which can be viewed from the windows of the Lafite Rothschild chateau, which is illustrated on the stripped-down two-tone label. The stone house, typical of the region, sits at the top of a gravel outcrop close to forests, marshlands and fields of grazing cows. The vineyards are currently being overhauled and will be used to test new growing techniques that will continue to enhance their biodiversity. Since taking on the role of executive chairwoman in 2018, one of Saskia de Rothschild’s main initiatives has been to eventually convert all the domain’s vineyards to organic and biodynamic.