Europe's Legendary Wineries : France

Chateau Lafite Rothschild

Lafite was founded in the fourteenth century. Established as a medieval seigneury, the land already bore vines, yet it was not until Jacques de Segur in 1670, that the vineyards were organised and cultivated. His son, Alexandre de Segur will take over the property and in 1695 married Chateau Latour 's heiress and united the two Domaine with the birth of their son, Nicholas-Alexandre de Segur.

In 1732-1733, Robert Walpole, Prime Minister of her Majesty, buys one Barrique of Lafite every three months, despite the fact that in France nobody is interested in red wine from Bordeaux!

Indeed, French were only drinking the rose wines from the region. The term clairet (meaning pale in french) represented the light colour of these wines and was the origin of the English word Claret.

The reputation of the wine's quality quickly grew and at the beginning of the eighteenth century, Chateau Lafite was brought to London by the Royal Navy in Barriques. The wines were sold to the finest families of the Kingdom and at auctions.
From 1716, Nicholas-Alexandre de Segur started to develop the Lafite's name at the King's court in Versaille. He was often called the Prince of vines and after a discussion between Louis XV and the Marechal Richelieux, the King of France decided to gratified the wines of Lafite as the King's wine. Needless to say, that everyone in France wanted to buy and drink the wines of the now famous Chateau and most dinners were accompanied by a few bottles.

Since Nicholas-Alexandre de Segur had no heir and his four daughters inherited the Domaines (including Latour). In 1784 a distant cousin Nicolas Pierre de Pichard took over the Chateau and eventually Lafite left the Segur family, when Nicolas was executed by the French Revolutionaries.

The Domaine changed hands several times during the nineteenth century, until it was bought over by the Baron James de Rothschild in 1868.

Until the second world war, the Domaine is shining above the rest and after 5 years of difficult war times, Elie de Rothschild is in charge of bringing back the reputation of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild to its former glory. A succession of incredible vintages helped the process : 1945, 1947 and 1949.

Until today, Chateau Lafite-Rothschild remains one of France's finest winery and the vintages to come will continue to be nothing but excellence.
Chateau Lafite-Rothschild's top vintages:
1945, 1947, 1949, 1953, 1959, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006.
Contact details:
Chateau Lafite-Rothschild
Fax : +33 5 56 59 26 83