Phenomenal wine from Pomerol and one among Bordeaux' elite wines!

Lafleur

 

412

From the left - Sylvie & Jacques Guinaudeau, the owners of Château Lafleur, and Omri, vineyard's manager. September 2015 during harvest.

Lafleur enjoys a perfect location within "Le Plateau Argileux". This area is 900 meters wide and circle-shaped east Pomerolast-Pomerol, close to the border of Saint-Emilion. Lafleur has a varying blend of big and small stones plus sand on the surface. The subsoil here varies between "crasse de fer" mixed with gravel or sand in different proportions of the soil surface composition. Subsoil strongly contributes to that cépage at Lafleur is Merlot and Cabernet Franc in ratio 50:50. There's nothing glamorous over Lafleur estate, but the wine is phenomenal.

Lafleur is the only property in Pomerol with so much Cabernet Franc in its wine. The vineyard is 4,5 ha big, vines are over 30 years old, and the wine stays 18-20 months in 33-50% new barrels. Jacques Guinaudeau, with his wife Sylvie, has been at Lafleur since 1985 ancompletequired complete control of Lafleur in 2005.

Jacques Guinaudeau is a perfectionist to the fingernails. The vineyard is painfully clean and every single vine receives loving care, and the wine has a "print" of soil and the winemaker. He uses modern techniques within vinification with utmost care and sensibility. He harvests late but not too late – grapes should be perfectly ripe and not end overripe á la marmalade.

Unlike traditionally made Pétrus, malolactic fermentation (malic acid is converted to lactic acid, and wine gets rid of excess of acid it doesn't need) takes place at Lafleur in barrels (instead of stainless-steel vats) to give the wine more aroma, mere breed and more strings to play on.

How is Lafleur then? It's simply breathtaking wine with stunning concentration, intensity and richness of nuances, refined and sophisticated. It has a fantastic aroma of dark cherries, raspberries, ad trufflmainly, especially in its early life (first, 2-3 years), incredibly aromatic. Lafleur is a wine with incredibly long keeping potential - 30-40 years or even longer in extraordinary vintages. In these vintages, Lafleur is as stunning as First Growths! Check out vintages 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2010, 2009, 2005, 2004, 2001 and 2000, and you will know what I mean!

2018 32

Young generation at Lafleur - Julie and Baptiste Guinaudeau writing down vinification schedule of 2017 vintage

2018h 7

Chateau Lafleur and the new cellarr on the left - October 2018

-----

Lafleur 2021 (barrel sample) 96p

Tasted in April 2022. 52% de Bouchet (local version of C. Franc) + 48% Merlot. Red fruit, roses, more elegant than powerful, finesse, sophisticated, superb structure, remarkable midpalate and length. Incredibly well challenging, difficult vintage. Sublime stuff. 

Lafleur 2018 100p

Tasted twice - last time in November 2021. Consistent. A huge, huge wine, creamy, very concentrated, iron fist/hammer in velvety glove, incredible length and finish. Wow! 54% de Bouchets (local name for Cabernet Franc) + 46% Merlot.

Lafleur 2017 98p

Tasted twice - last time in November 2021. Consistent notes. It was a great wine, deep, tight, dense and long. I'm not sure it is mainly everything the things the day I tasted it, but I'm s sure it will next time I taste it. 47% Merlot + 53% Cabernet Franc.

Lafleur 2016 99p

Tasted twice - last time in May 2019. Consistent notes. This wine was big, broad-shouldered with a classy and sophisticated nose of black fruit, velvety texture, rich, incredibly complexOutstandingstinguished beauty to remain beautiful for many, many years.

Lafleur 2015 98p

Tasted four times - last time in May 2019. Not consistent notes. In April 2016, it was surprisingly light in colour, a land ot of oak, a fine potential was unquestionably there, but this wasn't proved at all during my tasting that day. 92+p. Retasted in O October 2016 and entirely another story. An iron fist in velvety glove, almost brutal at the palate with enormous intensity and concentration. Stunning richness, structure and depth. Another legend is on the way. 99p. A tad subdued in March 2017, not as silky as 2016. 96-97p. After bottling, this wine switched on aftThickners. thick, fat, lot of fruit and tannin, creamy and sophisticated. 99p.

Lafleur 2014 96p

Tasted twice - last time in October 2016. Consistent notes. Rich with strong structure, fabulous ripeness of fruit, great underlying acidity, dense fat, great complexity and long finish. A classic one for the property!

Lafleur 2013 (barrel sample) 95p

Tasted in April 2014. This wine greatlyitted a lot from a late harvest of Cabernet Franc (mid-October) with vast quantities of black fruit, strong backbone and elastic structure, minerality and long persistent finish. Beautiful work in this challenging vintage.

Lafleur 2012 (barrel sample) 94p

Tasted three times - last time in April 2014. Consistent notes. This wine has put on weight and intensity since primeur tasting in April 2013. Chocolate/cocoa on the nose, aromatic, very friendly, silky fruit and tannin, great structure and length. More elegance and finesse here than power and muscles. Not willing to show all its qualities in April 2014, but I've to be patient.

Lafleur 2011 96p

Tasted five times - last time in March 2015. Consistent notes. For me, it's the best wine in the Pomerol in the 2011 vintage. Jacques Guinaudeau made a fantastic 2011, aing almost the quality of the 2010 vintage here. Extremely dense and tight, full of black cherries, very sophisticated and refined, an exceptional balanheavytween fatty, ripe tannins and perfectly ripe fruit, stunning aftertaste that goes on and on. Breathtaking stuff.

Lafleur 2010 99p

Tasted twice - last time in September 2013. Consistent notes. This wine had a strong backbone and dark cherries covered by Valrhona chocolate. Thick black cherry fruit and fat tannin at a perfect level of ripeness, chocolate/cacao powder onexcellent, great structure, deeply structured and sophisticated, silky tannin and fruit on the palate, fabulous finish. Wonderful stuff.

Lafleur 2009 97+p

Tasted three times - last time in September 2012. Consistent notes. Thiintense was strong and multidimensional, with lots of sweet black cherries, abundant, ripe and sweet tannin, exquisite balance and sophisticated touch, richness and extremely long aftertastehintlight touch of alcohol on the fruit.

Lafleur 2008 94p

Tasted three times - last time in September 2012. Consistent notes. This wine offered strength and power, ripe and silky tannins, exquisite balance and sophisticated touch, rich and a long aftertaste. Very impressive.

Lafleur 2007 (barrel sample) 92p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2008. Consistent notes. sted a bit tight but with a splendid force of black cherries beautifully balanced by silky fat tannin, stunning structure and long finish.

Lafleur 2006 94p

Tasted three times - last time in September 2012. Consistent notes. It possessed a hugely aromatic nose of dark berries like blueberries and blackberries, was full-bodied, refined and had a large amount of ripe tannin. In September 2012, it was full of massive fruit and tannin, backward and with a persistent finish. Keep it for 10-15 years before drinking it.

Lafleur 2005 100p

Tasted six times - last time in March 2015. Consistent notes. You hear angels sing! 2005 will be a worthy rival to the unforgettable 2000 vintage, with its depth, breathtaking richness and refinement. Very dark. An incredibly potent wine, an intense and sensual nose of wild cherries, almost essence stuff on nose and palate, velvety all over, mighty, iron fist structure and fantastic balance. It feels like this wine is just pure silk from start to end. Mind-boggling wine.

Lafleur 2004 95p

Tasted three times - last time in April 2007 when in the bottle. Consistent notes. 60% Merlot + 40% Cabernet Franc. Dense dark red. Beautiful and sensual aromas of black fruit, intense, silky tannins, potent, long, and sophisticated. Exceptional wine.

Lafleur 2003 93p

Tasted twice - last time in September 2012. Consistent notes. 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Franc. Very complex and intense nose of extremely ripe fruit, quite spicy and with a touch of heat. A splendidly structured and balanced wine, full-bodied and very long on the palate. This was as it tasted from the barrel in 2004. In September 2012, it was powerful, black cherries, deep and sophisticated to start with. Gradually it got a slightly warm scent on the fruit, and tannin started to show more and more dryness. I'm not sure about keeping possibilities.

Lafleur 2002 93p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2006. Consistent notes. 60% Merlot + 40% Cabernet Franc. Wonderfully aromatic and catchy nose, elegant on the palate with round tannins. Splendid structure and long aftertaste. Not as exciting as 2001, but who cares. An excellent wine for the vintage.

Lafleur 2001 96p

Tasted seven times - last time in September 2012. Consistent notes. 60% Merlot + 40% Cabernet Franc. This vintage has always been one of my favourite Lafleurs. A wine I always have adored, mainly because of its incredibly captivating nose of truffles, black fruit, richness, sophisticated touch and fabulous structure. Utterly impressive stuff.

Lafleur 2000 100p

Tasted eight (!) times - last time in December 2016. Consistent notes. A monumental piece of exceptional winemaking! You rarely taste such complete wine. Tons of truffles, thick, fat tannin, unbelievable complexity and richness, wild cherries, blueberries and blackberries in huge quantities. Breathtaking wine. A pure legend being able to last for at least half a century!

Lafleur 1999 93p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2006. Consistent notes. A complete wine with exquisite complexity and finesse. Well-balanced and well-put-together, splendid depth and soft aftertaste. Stunning wine for the vintage, which should keep well for 10-15 years.

Lafleur 1998 95p

Tasted three times - last time in September 2012. Consistent notes. Deep red. Strong and potent wine with great depth, iron-strong structure, ripe fruit, and ripe tannin. Very impressive indeed. A keeper.

Lafleur 1997 89p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2006. Consistent notes. On the light and elegant side with a fruity nose of raspberries. Quite well-defined on the palate with good structure and length. Will mature relatively quickly, which means 6-8 years.

Lafleur 1994 95p

Tasted in November 2013. Tight and concentrated, powerful and rich. Excellent depth, balance and length. Firm finish. Many years to go. Jacques Guinaudeau did get max. out of his grapes in this vintage. Great effort.

Lafleur 1989 96p

Tasted twice - last time in September 2012. Consistent notes. Very intense and robust. Loads of superbly ripe fruit, kirsch liqueur, truffles and great depth on the palate. Wonderful structure and length. Exceptional wine.

Lafleur 1988 95p

Tasted in September 2012. Darker in colour, tighter with more power and concentration than 1985, iron strong structure, dark cherries and raspberries everywhere, excellent balance and long firm finish. Not ready yet. Awesome stuff as well.

Lafleur 1985 94p

Tasted in September 2012. Quite dark, matured flavours of cherries and truffles, broad and intense on palate, delicious velvety tannin, exquisite balance, long and sophisticated, persistent and smooth aftertaste. At its very peak right now. Excellent stuff.

Lafleur 1982 100p

Tasted in September 2012. Oh my God, what a wine. No doubt that it was a 1982 vintage! Heavenly stuff. Extremely dark and dense. Wild and incredibly intense nose with "tons" of mocha, bitter chocolate, potent on the palate with kirsch liqueur, extremely concentrated with extraordinary length. Perfect balance. So thick texture in this wine that you could cut it into slices. Christian Moueix and Jean-Claude Berrouet from close neighbour Petrus made this wine, and it shows, for 100% typical Lafleur this wine isn't. But who cares, as this wine was, is and will be a legend for many years to come.

39

 Lafleur 1964 97p

Tasted in May 2006. Original château bottling. Simply wonderfully perfumed and exciting wine! Truffles and cherries everywhere. Incredibly refined and sophisticated with perfect balance and exquisite structure. Long and lingering aftertaste. Simply breathtaking wine for 42 years old one wine!

-----

Lafleur's second wine, Pensées de Lafleur, represents very fine value for the money.

Pensées de Lafleur 2021 (barrel sample) 92-93p

Tasted in April 2022.  59% Merlot + 41% de Bouchet. Violets and iris, intense aroma of morello cherries, finely grained tannin, vibrant complexity, and long aftertaste. Delightful effort. 

Pensées de Lafleur 2018 (barrel sample) 93-94p

Tasted in April 2019. Vigorous-intensity of fruit flavours on the nose, pure, finely grained tannin, lot of tension, persistent finish. High quality indeed.

Pensées de Lafleur 2017 (barrel sample) 92p

Tasted in April 2018.  Dense and tight with excellent depth, complexity and finish. 

Pensées de Lafleur 2016 93-94p

Tasted twice - last time in Mary 2019. Consistent notes. It had a great, stylish nose with an intense aroma of blueberries, a silky and polished palate, and a complex and persistent fruity aftertaste. Great balance here. Beautiful second wine.

Pensées de Lafleur 2015 93p

Tasted four times - last time in May 2019. Not consistent notes. Difficult to assess in April 2016, but a different story in October 2016. Aromatic, fine structure, wild cherries, silky, traces of chocolate, grained tannin. Splendid! Similar performance in March 2017 as six months before. In May 2019 too!

Pensées de Lafleur 2014 (barrel sample) 91p

Tasted in March 2015. An intense wine, sappy, full-bodied, long aftertaste. Fine effort.

Pensées de Lafleur 2012 (barrel sample) 89p

Tasted twice - last time in September 2013. Consistent notes. This wine was strong, potent, and quite tannic, with blackberries on the nose aromatic, long and meaty finish. Splendid effort.

Pensées de Lafleur 2011 (barrel sample) 91p

Tasted in April 2012. Similar to 2008, fruit and tannin in 2011 are riper and fatter. Better length too.

Pensées de Lafleur 2010 (barrel sample) 90-92p

This wine offered chocolate and sweet fruit perfectly integrated with fat, sweet tannin, and a long finish. Superb effort.

Pensées de Lafleur 2009 (barrel sample) 90-92p

It was fresh, meaty with a strong backbone, powerful and firm finish. Well-knitted. Terrific second wine.

Pensées de Lafleur 2008 (barrel sample) 89-90p

This wine was concentrated with a very nice length and structure powerful and firm finish. Very fine indeed for a second wine.

Pensées de Lafleur 2007 (barrel sample) 87p

It was dark red and was very fine on the nose with intense black cherries. Meaty on the palate, medium weight, round and with silky tannins. Pretty lovely wine for the vintage.

Pensées de Lafleur 2006 (barrel sample) 89p

Pensées de Lafleur 2005 91-92p

Pensées de Lafleur 2004 90p (60% Merlot + 40% Cabernet Franc)

Pensées de Lafleur 2003 89p (100% Merlot)

Pensées de Lafleur 1998 89p

Pensées de Lafleur 1997 86p

 

Latest news

 NEW! Two more chateau profiles added - Beausejour Duffau Lagarrosse and L'Eglise Clinet. Check both out in "Chateau Profiles" under Saint-Emilion respectively Pomerol.

1. I spent two weeks in Bordeaux in April 2022 to taste 2021 vintage from the barrel. A review of 300+ tasted barrel samples - "2021 BORDEAUX FROM BARREL" in "VINTAGES".

2. Impressions from my trip to Bordeaux in November 2021 are here - chapter "2021 Bordeaux visits" in "VINTAGES". Additional TNs from barrel samples of 2020 vintage tasted in Bordeaux - chapter "2020 FROM BARREL", in "VINTAGES".

3. 2019 vintage's TNs on 85 wines tasted in Bordeaux in November 2021 plus additional TNs on 120+ wines tasted in Copenhagen during January-March 2022 are published. Check out chapter "2019 BARREL/BOTTLE" in "VINTAGES".

4. Tasting notes concerning the 2018 vintage on wines tasted from the bottle in Bordeaux in November 2021- chapter "2018 IN BOTTLE" in "VINTAGES".

5. The Burgundy blog in the News chapter is a new feature, including impressions from Burgundy tastings/tasting dinners attended since November 2018. It'll also have impressions on tasted wines from Beaujolais' best winegrowers. I explored this wine area in April 2022 while tasting Morgon Cote du Puy from five producers in 2018 and 2019. A tasting of top cuveés from the same producers took place in mid-June 2022. The report will be published in September 2022.

6. In addition to my website, I also post tasting notes to an excellent website run by Pekka Nuikki from Finland, www.tastingbook.com, where I have 11.400+ followers and published 2.950+ TNs by primo September 2022. Tastingbook.com users have voted me as nr. 24 in the 2022 competition of "The best wine critic in the world".