In recent years, many of the most expensive wines in the world — including the most expensive bottle ever sold — have been courtesy of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in the French region of Burgundy. But for many drinkers, the first wine producer that comes to mind for its priciness is from another part of France: Château Lafite Rothschild. The famed Bordeaux winery held the most expensive bottle record before Romanée-Conti snatched it in 2018 and, as of this time last year, was still listed by Liv-ex as the most traded fine wine brand in the world.
Anseillan, a new and more affordable wine from the original vineyards of Château Lafite Rothschild
Part of Lafite’s coveted status comes from its history: The Pauillac-based vineyard traces its history all the way back to 1234 and was one of just four chateaux given First Growth status in the famed 1855 classification. And as a further example of just how long the chateau has been around, Lafite has reportedly just released its first new label in over 100 years — Anseillan — but with this one, the producer hopes the price will be less of a barrier to entry.
Beyond their Chateau Lafite Rothschild bottles, since the late 19th century, the main vineyard has also produced a second wine, Carruades de Lafite, at a lower price point (Think prices starting at $300 instead of $600). The larger Lafite brand produces plenty of other wines as well, typically lumped under the Domaines Barons de Rothschild designation, but this new Anseillan release is apparently produced with grapes from the château’s original vineyards and is the first wine to be worthy of being slotted under the Chateau Lafite Rothschild name since Carruades over 100 year ago.
The initial 2018 vintage is a blend of 48 percent Merlot, 39 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, and 13 percent Petit Verdot, pulling grapes from an area that is being overhauled with new growing techniques, according to Robb Report. “The Anseillan vineyard is an incredible playground in terms of terroir as there are three different soils, gravelly, clay and clay-limestone,” Louis Caillard, Lafite’s director of viticulture, told the site. “Today, we are responsible for restructuring it for the fifty or hundred years to come.”
“The initiation of the project dates back to 2014, during a blending session for the Château Lafite Rothschild team. It started out slowly, at first making just a few hundred magnums every year,” executive chairwoman Saskia de Rothschild added. “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.”
According to Lafite, the objective for Anseillan — which also has a strikingly modern-looking label compared to its two predecessors — was a wine that could be “shared at restaurant tables around the world that have sometimes forgotten how good it is to open a bottle of Bordeaux.” Bottles arrive with a suggested retail price of $99.
This story first appeared on www.foodandwine.com
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