The 2015 vintage at Chateau Lafite Rothschild has parallels with the memorable 1996 wines in the Medoc, according to the estate's technical director Eric Kohler.
"There was very great purity in 1996," he said today in the chateau's tasting room, its panoramic windows looking north from Lafite's Pauillac vineyard toward Chateau Cos d' Estournel and other Saint Estephe neighbors.
Last year, "when the rain arrived in September, the grapes were very ripe and the vines were at the end of their cycle," he said.
While the grapes had little dilution as a result of the late rain, it did affect fruit at the margins of production, and only about 40 percent of the harvest went into the main Lafite wine, compared with 45 or 50 percent in some recent years.
Kohler, asked about comparisons with recent great vintages such as 2005, 2009 and 2010, preferred to look back further, and saw echoes of 2001, a vintage which had matured well even if overshadowed by the 2000 millennial wines that preceded it.
"I'd put it between 2001 and 1996," he said.