Chateau Lafite Rothschild
Jacques de Ségur family first established Lafite as a vineyard in the 17th century in the 1670s and 1680s. They began to earn a favorable reputation almost right away, and by 1707 it was already being sold popularly in London.
However, it was when Jacques's grandson, Nicolas Alexandre de Ségur, took over the vineyards in 1716 that the winemaker name truly began to shine. They called him "The Wine Prince" as he improved the winemaking processes until they were making exemplary wines that soon caught the attention of the King himself, with Château Lafite becoming known as "The King's Wine."
Despite stewardship of the estate falling out the direct line of Jacques's descendants, the Château Lafite reputation only continued to grow, even catching the attention of future American President Thomas Jefferson. During the mid-19th century, Château Lafite's exceptional wine reputation only grew.
In 1868, the then 74 hectare vineyard was procured by the Rothschild family. Initially it was purchased by James de Rothschild, but he died shortly after and the vineyard went to his three sons, Alphonse, Gustave and Edmond. The vineyard did well initially, with the first vintage under the de Rothschild ownership bringing the highest price that had yet been recorded for wine.
Not long after the vineyard was plagued by setbacks, including pestilence, mildew, war and the Great Depression. This dark period continued through the mid-20th century, with the final crisis being the German occupation of the Médoc and the estate. Finally, in 1945, Baron Elie regained control of the vineyard and helped transform it into the strong winemaker it continues to be in its fourth century of wine production.
Today, Lafite Rothschild has established a reputation that is known the world over. Arguably the most coveted of the 1st Growths, Lafite backs up this reputation with remarkable quality every year. As great as their quality is in top years like 1982, 1986, and 20000, they have also produced outrageous efforts in more challenging years like 1998 and 2008.
How do you know what's valuable?
Our Wine Producer Value Guide provides free information about how to value your Chateau Lafite Rothschild .