AOC Pauillac (Bordeaux)
Throughout history many explorers and conquerors have fallen for the myth of the fountain of youth. According to legend, in the New World discovered by Columbus, there was a spring whose waters restored youth to whoever drank or bathed in its waters. The person who tried the hardest to find it, or at least the one who is best known, is Ponce de León, but the only thing he found on this quest was what is known today as Florida. This wasn’t a bad discovery, but it wasn’t what he expected. However, what if Ponce de León wasn’t looking in the right place? What if the fountain of youth can be found in a glass of wine?
In 1755, the Maréchal de Richelieu fell ill. This French nobleman, the last great-nephew of Cardinal Richelieu (the one in The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas), was the godson of Louis XIV. His close connection to royalty led him to become a close friend of Louis XV (the son of his godfather) and being appointed governor of Guyenne (the old name for Bordeaux). There, in the southwest of France, he fell ill and took a remedy prescribed by the doctor: drinking Château Lafite wines, “the best and most pleasant of all tonics”. On his return to Paris, Louis XV remarked that Maréchal de Richelieu looked “twenty-five years younger than when he left for Guyenne,” to which Richelieu replied: “Your Majesty, haven’t you heard that I’ve discovered the Fountain of Youth? I found Château Lafite wine to be a delicious and generous cordial, comparable to the ambrosia enjoyed by the gods of Olympus”. Château Lafite could not have had a better introduction among royalty. From that moment on, its name could be heard within the walls of Versailles, and it became known as “the king's wine”.
One of their wines is Château Lafite Rothschild Carruades de Lafite, the château’s second wine made in the A.O.C. Pauillac, in Bordeaux, southwest France, on the Gironde estuary. This red wine takes its name from some plots located on the Carruades plateau, acquired in 1845 next to the vineyards, on the hill around the castle, where Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grow. In this enclave, which is just one of the three parts the 112 hectares of vineyard are divided into, the vines (with an average age of 39 years old) grow on fine, deep gravelly soil mixed with eolian sand on a tertiary limestone subsoil that is well drained and exposed to the sun. There, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gironde, the climate is warm and humid, with many hours of daylight, sunshine and air circulation, creating a very favourable microclimate. In terms of cultivation, Château Lafite Rothschild Carruades de Lafite is cultivated in a completely artisan and manual way with strict control of yields, manual harvesting, and almost no use of chemical fertilisers.
In the winery, Château Lafite Rothschild Carruades de Lafite’s journey begins with the grapes separated by variety. Each cuvée or lot will be aged separately in wooden barrels or stainless steel tanks, where it will ferment. Once the must becomes wine, the pomace (which still contains the skins and skins) is pressed, creating a totally clean wine. From there it is racked again to another Domaines barrel, where it undergoes malolactic fermentation. After this, Château Lafite Rothschild Carruades de Lafite is blended and aged for 18 months in a 225-litre French oak barrel. After this, it is clarified with egg white and bottled.
Carruades de Lafite 2016 is a concentrated red wine. On the nose, there are notes of baked plums, Morello cherries, blackcurrant, hints of stewed tea, sweet tobacco, fresh herbs and bay leaves. The palate is medium-bodied, dense and chewy, with irresistible freshness, acidity and a long, mineral finish.