From the start a beautiful bouquet with still some dark fruits, cedar, smoke, toast and a pleasant touch of barnyard. On the palate dark berry fruits, a touch of chocolate, graphite, soft acidity and round tannin with still some bite and slightly drying in the finish. The wine improves with some more air. Gives you a luxury feeling. The wine is at its peak now and will probably stay there for another year or two.
I tend to like this Chateau. This has surprising power, is well balanced and so composed. The subtle nose giving way to so much strength on the palate, which is very earthy, not so much fruit, more floral really - violets..there's something impressive about this. Feels very traditional. Very ready to drink but I don't see it fading any time soon either. 92+
Wow. What a perfect bottle. Third time I have had it this year, and this one really outshines the previous bottles. Very forthcoming from the first pour. Dark fruit and leathery notes. Very elegant and in perfect balance. Peaking now.
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(Chateau Lafon-Rochet St Estèphe) From half bottles. Nice colour, and an interesting nose; a slightly burnt character, a little edge of green, but with some nice slightly toffee-toned fruit. Mature, slightly treacly character. Savoury blackcurrant fruit and black olives as well. It has a lovely full character, full and complete, with good substance. It has lots of grip, is dry but textured, and possesses a tannic and grippy finish. There is a little length too. This is good.
(Chateau Lafon-Rochet St Estèphe) From half-bottles. This wine demonstrated a little maturity in colour. Like the 1996 this wine displays some exotic black olive notes, with sweet black fruit, but with a more elegant air. The palate is rounded, very dry, with great structure in evidence. Although it has just a little less tannin than the 1996 (just), with a hard character typical of St Estèphe, this is balanced out by a sweet wealth of fruit. This youthful wine has a good length and potential.
(Château Lafon-Rochet (St Estèphe)) From a half bottle. Still a really dark colour here. Aromatically, this has really come on in the last three years, as this has now come together to offer a rather robust but harmonious and perfumed nose. By robust I am referring to the rather solid sooty edge to the damson and blackcurrant fruit, but along with this there is an attractive violet-tinged perfume. It now feels dark or smoky rather than burnt, and I look upon the fruit as fresh rather than green. The palate starts off in a cool fashion, with a fresh, gritty, crunchy fruit freshness, tempered by a supple and full substance, and a delicious substance that runs into the finish where the tannins - they only really show here and not through the middle - give a little flesh and flourish to the wine. Complete and pleasing, with a sappy, just-ripe fruit character, which gives the wine some nice length. For the vintage an impressive wine and certainly good to drink. It is only really in terms of finesse or elegance that it comes up short.
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