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2020 Château Lafon-Rochet En Primeur

Lafon-Rochet have just released their 2020 vintage en primeur, offered at £325 per dozen, a generous discount on both the 2018 and 2019 vintages (released at £380 and £340 respectively) despite being of comparable quality. 

Jancis Robinson is clearly a fan, describing the 2020 as "so appetising and groundbreaking" (17 points).  This became a favourite estate for us on a visit to Bordeaux some fifteen years ago.  We were due to meet owner Michel Tesseron at the estate in the afternoon but bumped into him having a long lunch at La Tupina, a Bordeaux institution.  By the time we caught up with him a couple of hours later at the property, he was swaying gently on his feet, welcoming us with a beaming smile (and very few words) to his bright yellow château. 

The same impression of openness and generosity of spirit is there in the wine each time we taste it.  We have enjoyed seeing it steadily improve over the last decade (under Michel's son Basile Tesseron) and the 2020 cask sample may be the best yet.  We found fine oak aromas and layered, dense blueberry fruits, assam tea, spices and beautifully soft tannins.  Another excellent example of Bordeaux winemakers adapting to warmer summers and producing wines with plenty of freshness and energy. 

The 2020 will be open and accessible in just a couple of years after landing, but despite its approachability, Jane Anson finds good structure, describing it as having "plenty of clarity to the flavours, together with a feeling of linearity to the tannins...a measured, successful wine that will age well"  (93 points) whilst Suckling scores it 93-94 points.  At just over £27 per bottle in bond, this is definitely a 2020 to add to your cellar.

Landing in spring 2023.

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Château Lafon-Rochet

Producer Profile

Château Lafon-Rochet

Château Lafon-Rochet is a Quatrièmes Cru Classé in St-Estèphe, owned by the Tesseron family, who made their fortune in Cognac and who also own Pontet-Canet.  The estate was founded in 1650, when Antoinette de Guillemotte brought the land of Rochette as her dowry to her husband, Pierre de Lafon.   When the Tesserons bought the estate in 1959 it was badly run-down, with just 17 hectares of vines. 

Production was modernised under Michel Tesseron from 2000 (he also painted the château in its distinctive Mediterranean yellow).  Today the estate has 45 ha of vines and is run on organic and biodynamic lines by Michel's son, Basile Tesseron.  He is also making ground-breaking efforts to re-wild the estate, planting trees and shrubs and encouraging biodiversity.

Below is a charming animation that illustrates the superb location and terroirs at Lafon-Rochet:

RED 2020 Château Lafon Rochet 75cl £325 per case of 12 Château Lafon Rochet
2020 / / 75cl
£325 per case of 12
Tasting Notes“Cask sample taken 6 April. 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot. Deep lustrous purplish crimson. Interesting vitality to the nose, almost as though biodynamic techniques were employed here. Lovely balance of ripeness and vitality. This is a very successful 2020. It may be dismissed by some because the tannins are not obvious but it's a delightful drink – already! Very distinctive. Perhaps not for seriously long-term cellaring but well done Basile Tesseron for producing something so appetising and groundbreaking. The finish is impressively persistent. 13.5%. Drink 2025 – 2040. 17 points.”, Apr 21------"Attractive, well-paced fruits, plenty of clarity to the flavours, together with a feeling of linearity to the tannins. Austerity through the mid-palate constrains the brambled cassis fruit, but things build back up again and this is a measured, successful wine that will age well. 3% Petit Verdot completes the blend. First year with Eric Boissenot accompanying Jean-Claude Berrouet as consultants. Drinking Window 2027 - 2042. 93 points" Jane Anson, Decanter Magazine------"The 2020 Lafon-Rochet was picked September 15–20 and marks the first collaboration between consultants Jean-Claude Berrouet and Eric Boissenot, who both worked on the blending. It has a really lovely bouquet of blackberry, briar and faint estuarine scents, hints of crushed iris flower emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins and modest depth, and quite fleshy; lip-smacking salinity urges you to take another sip. Intriguingly, it comes across a tad Pomerol-like on the finish, completing a top-notch Lafon-Rochet that may well end up at the top of my banded score. 92-94 points" Neal Martin,"Blackberry and spice with firm, chewy tannins that show polish and focus. It’s medium-to full-bodied with excellent energy. Blackberry and blackcurrant character on the finish with a touch of cedar and spice. 93-94 points""The 2020 Lafon-Rochet is fabulous. The aromatics along are dazzling. Gracious and yet effusive, with tons of nuance, the 2020 dazzles from start to finish. Inky dark fruit, new leather, spice, lavender and menthol fill the room with soaring intensity. Silky, elegant and so pure, Lafon-Rochet is shaping up to be one of the real under the radar gems of 2020. It's a terrific effort from Basile Tesseron. Don't miss it. 93-95 points" Antonio Galloni,

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