From the left - Sylvie & Jacques Guinaudeau, the owners of Château Lafleur, and Omri Ram, the 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 a ratio of 50:50. There's nothing glamorous about 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, the 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 and fully acquired complete control of Lafleur in 2005.
Jacques Guinaudeau is a perfectionist to the fingernails. The vineyard is painfully clean, every 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 truffles, mainly, especially in its early life (first, 2-3 years), incredibly aromatic. Lafleur is a wine with extremely 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!
Young generation at Lafleur - Julie and Baptiste Guinaudeau writing down the vinification schedule of 2017 vintage
Chateau Lafleur and the new cellar on the left - October 2018
Lafleur 2022 (barrel sample) 98-99p
Tasted in April 2023. 51% de Bouchet + 49% Merlot. 14.5% alcohol. This barrel sample was quite shut down when tasted. Sleeping giant with enormous potential. All the beautiful ingredients are there waiting for the right moment to appear.
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, deep, tight, dense, and long wine. I'm not sure it showed everything the day I tasted it, but I'm s sure it will be the 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 years.
Lafleur 2015 98p
Tasted four times - last time in May 2019. Not consistent notes. In April 2016, it was surprisingly light in color, with plenty of oak, and 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 a 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 in 2016. 96-97p. After bottling, this wine switched on afterburners. Thick, fatty, 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 greatly benefitted from a late harvest of Cabernet Franc (mid-October) with vast quantities of black fruit, strong backbone, 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 had to be patient.
Lafleur 2011 96p
Tasted five times - last time in March 2015. Consistent notes. It's the best wine in the Pomerol in the 2011 vintage. Jacques Guinaudeau made a fantastic 2011, reaching almost the quality of the 2010 vintage here. Extremely dense and tight, full of black cherries, very sophisticated and refined, an exceptional balance between 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 aroma, excellent depth, 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. It was strong and multidimensional on the nose, with lots of sweet black cherries, abundant, ripe, sweet tannin, exquisite balance, 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, and a rich and long aftertaste. Very impressive.
Lafleur 2007 (barrel sample) 92p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2008. Consistent notes. This wine was 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 rival the impressive 2000 vintage's depth, breathtaking richness, and refinement. Very dark. An incredibly potent wine with 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 still trying to figure out 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. More exciting than 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 favorite 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, with splendid depth and a 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. It will mature relatively quickly, which means 6-8 years.
Lafleur 1994 95p
Tasted in November 2013. Tight and concentrated, powerful and wealthy. 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. Excellent structure and length. Exceptional wine.
Lafleur 1988 95p
Tasted in September 2012. Darker color, 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 flavors of cherries and truffles, broad and intense on the 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 neighbor Petrus, made this wine, which shows that it isn't 100% typical Lafleur. But who cares, as this wine was, is, and will be a legend for many years.
Lafleur 1964 97p
Tasted in May 2006. Original château bottling. Simply wonderfully aromatic 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 excellent value for the money.
Pensées de Lafleur 2022 (barrel sample) 94-95p
Tasted in April 2023. 57% Merlot + 43% de Bouchet. Intense wild cherries, fragrant violets, splendid acidity and minerality, strong structure, vibrant, persistent finish. Splendid effort.
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 flavors 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 and meaty, with a strong backbone and a 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