The Other Lafite
1985 & 1986
A Delightfully Priced Understudy
"Duhart Milon is the shrewd consumer’s wine to purchase by the case as prices do not yet reflect its qualitative resurgence."
If the name "Lafite" has an extraordinary resonance, it is not a name usually associated with the phrase "shrewd consumers."
Today we change that, exploring a less precious strata of Lafite's stable and in so doing, we come across one of those scenarios that is becoming rarer and rarer: value and affordability in back-vintage Bordeaux. In fact, these wines with twenty-five and twenty-six years of age respectively are only marginally more expensive than the 09 vintage.
The pricing today is truly exceptional - both bottles clock in at about $50 below the lowest prices out there.
Duhart Milon was acquired by the Rothschild family in 1962. The acquisition makes sense: The vineyards are adjacent to those of Lafite and sit on the same Carruades plateau that gives its name to that house's second label. To quote Robert Parker, "they have invested heavily in resurrecting this property to near super-star status."
While neither of these wines are jammy blockbusters, they do what, for us at least, Bordeaux should do: with age both wines have assumed beautiful subtleties, notes of cigar box, leaves, underbrush and cedar intertwined with dark red fruit. They are both almost startlingly fragrant. With both bottlings, the tannins have softened into harmonious refinement.
The vintages on offer today offer wonderful contrasts: 1985 was a vintage of buxom, fruit-driven wines with abundant soft tannins. 1986 was more classic, producing wines of power, and concentration, emphasizing a firm tannic backbone. Lafite's wine from 86 is a modern day legend.
Both are wines that are best paired with simple fare; both are wines for the dinner table. Steak with Bordelaise sauce may be an obvious pairing, but it would be a lovely one nonetheless.
Quantities are very limited so please let us know as soon as possible if you are interested.
To order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits