This property got its name from its first owner. The present one, Pierre Meslier (who worked at d'Yquem as manager), bought Raymond Lafon in 1972.
There are 18 ha of vines in Sauternes commune, surrounded by famous names as Lafaurie Peyraguey, d'Yquem and Suduiraut. The soil here is gravely on the surface and contains a mix of clay and limestones. The cépage is a classic for Sauternes & Barsac – 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc, vines are on average 35 years old, yield per ha is only 8.5 hl (!), and the wine matures in new barrels for three years.
A perfect example that Raymond Lafon aims more towards quality than quantity is that only grapes with sugar content corresponding to the potential of 19-21% alcohol are harvested. Another sign of ruthless selection is that 20-100% (!) of the harvest is declassified every year, according to the quality of the vintage.
Raymond Lafon is close to d'Yquem concerning the style and one of the district's most stable and demanded wines. For me, Raymond Lafon is among the five best sweet wines in Bordeaux and represents excellent value for the money.
In April 2012, Jean-Pierre Meslier arranged for me a vertical of 11 successive vintages (2011-2001), which was a showcase of what Raymond Lafon is capable of! In November 2012, he came to Copenhagen to tutor a wine dinner, where nine vintages of Raymond Lafon were served to appropriate dishes. It was a marvellous experience!
Because of the lower sugar content in grapes, the Meslier family decided not to produce Grand Vin in the 2012 vintage. Instead, all production went into the second wine, Jeunes Pousses de Raymon Lafon.
Close-up of botrytised grapes
Raymond Lafon 2021 (barrel sample) 93p
Tasted in April 2022. Very small yields here due to the not-to-kind weather. It was gentle and elegant wine with botrytized aromas of sweet grapefruit, peach and apricot. Fine acidity, vibrant, finesse and honeyed finish. A wine that I'm pretty sure will put on weight and intensity after ageing in barrel and gain a higher rating.
Raymond Lafon 2020 (barrel sample) 95p
Tasted in June 2021. It was a very stylish wine with a botrytised aroma of sweet pineapple, guava and mango, rich, elegant, excellent acidity, sophisticated touch, and long finish. Impressive performance from this consistent property.
Raymond Lafon 2019 95p
Tasted twice - last time in November 2021. Consistent notes. Delicate aromas of pineapple and peaches on the nose, a bit lighter than usual on the palate, great finesse and elegance, fine acidity, and honeyed aftertaste. This was from the barrel in June 2020. When tasted in November 2021, it actually improved after ageing in barrel, when tasted after bottling. It's better in terms of intensity of flavours and depth and length. Botrytized flavours of almonds and honey melon, vibrant, refined and has great acidity. Long honeyed finish. Superb effort.
Raymond Lafon 2018 94-95p
Tasted twice - last time in November 2021. Consistent notes. Quite an aromatic wine with pineapple, sweet grapefruit and mango, elegance, refined, bright acidity, and long finish. Not the concentrated vintage here, lighter than usual, but a lot of elegance and finesse compensate for that.
Raymond Lafon 2017 95-96p
Tasted four times - last time in November 2021. Consistent notes. One-third of the crop was lost due to frost in April. Very impressive wine filled with freshness, great acidity and sweetness. Tasty flavours of almonds, pear, peach and apricot. Splendid complexity, elegance and finesse. Sophisticated touch. Excellent effort.
Raymond Lafon 2016 93p
Tasted three times - last time in April 2019. Consistent notes. Not quite the same intensity of botrytised flavours as in 2017 and 2018, elegance, finesse and nice acidity.
Raymond Lafon 2015 96p
Tasted three times - last time in April 2019. Consistent notes.Intense and powerful, sweet pineapple, great acidity, fat finish. Excellent.
Raymond Lafon 2014 94-95p
Tasted five times - last time in April 2019. Consistent notes. Striking acidity, fresh oranges and peach, mango, grapefruit, citrus, great balance, complex and refined. Great effort for the vintage.
Raymond Lafon 2013 96p
Tasted six times - last time in April 2019. Consistent notes. A very elegant wine with much finesse, rich, excellent acidity, exquisite balance, great complexity and honeyed finish. It looks like this wine is getting better and better each time I taste it! Yep, it was still simply excellent in April 2019!
Raymond Lafon 2011 94p
Tasted six times - last time in April 2018. Consistent notes. Aromatic with acacia honey, sophisticated, long, great intensity of aromas (mango, honey melon) and great acidity. Very long honeyed aftertaste. Excellent effort for the vintage.
Raymond Lafon 2010 97p
Tasted seven times - last time in April 2016. Consistent notes. Only three pickings, clean and easy harvest, no insects and no diseases, according to Jean-Pierre Meslier. Vast quantities of pineapple and grapefruit aromas, very sophisticated and rich, exquisite balance. Utterly impressive stuff.
Raymond Lafon 2009 96p
Tasted twelve times - last time in April 2018. Consistent notes. This property made an astonishing wine in 2009 – quite spectacular on the nose and palate with a great range of botrytised flavours like almonds, pineapple, pear, apricot and acacia flower, exquisite sweetness and acidity. Incredibly long on the palate with an exquisite honeyed aftertaste. Fabulous stuff.
Raymond Lafon 2008 93p
Tasted eight times - last time in September 2013. Consistent notes. This wine showed an elegant and sophisticated side of itself, with acidity matching fruit sweetness perfectly. Pineapple and acacia flower flavours. Captivating wine with exquisite balance. Lovely structure and great style.
Raymond Lafon 2007 95+p
Tasted twelve times - last time in September 2014. Consistent notes. Strong botrytised aromas of lemon, grapefruit, orange peel, and citrus are powerful on the palate, mineral, beautiful acidity, and honeyed aftertaste. A stunning effort for the vintage.
Raymond Lafon 2006 92+p
Tasted nine times - last time in September 2013. Consistent notes. Catchy acacia flower/honey aroma, nutty flavours (reduction - mature flavours), splendid acidity, and delicate balance. Lovely structure and refined concentration. An elegant and seductive wine.
Raymond Lafon 2005 96p
Tasted eleven times - last time in September 2013. Consistent notes. 70% of the harvest went into Grand Vin. Light yellow. Pure, very aromatic with a massive intensity of flavours like fresh apples, apricots and walnuts, very rich, great balance and sophisticated touch. Fabulous wine with great potential.
Raymond Lafon 2004 94p
Tasted seven times - last time in November 2012. Consistent notes. Only 1/3 of the entire harvest went into Grand Vin - grapes were picked between 27th September and 7th October. It possessed extremely fine botrytis and an intensely aromatic nose of apricot, honey melon and acacia honey. On the palate, this wine was very deep, sophisticated and highly complex. The acidity in this wine was impeccable and supported well excellent fruit. This is a stunning wine. Kudos to Pierre Meslier!!!
Raymond Lafon 2003 99p
Tasted seven times - last time in March 2015. Consistent notes. 99.9% of the entire harvest became Grand Vin!! Extremely intense nose of molasses, mango, candied mandarin peel, crème brulée. These botrytized flavours were incredible and deep. Extremely rich, unctuous and extremely long on the palate, with acidity matching gobs of sweetness perfectly. It was extraordinary stuff, pure extravaganza, I say, 100%% legend and a perfect example of a flamboyant style of Bordeaux stickies. I think those who criticise the 2003 vintage for being too much sugar and too little acidity can really eat their words now! This vintage's really opened for floodgates this year with fantastic wines matching all kinds of food perfectly.
Raymond Lafon 2002 93p
Tasted six times - last time in November 2012. Consistent notes. 80% of the entire harvest went into Grand Vin. Light golden, very elegant, open, delicate, acacia honey, lovely acidity, creamy texture and finesse. An extremely successful effort for the vintage. I will keep it nicely for at least 8-10 years.
Raymond Lafon 2001 98p
Tasted seven times - last time in April 2012. Consistent notes. This wine is a masterpiece, and I call it "nectar of the Gods." What a sublime, rich and wonderfully knitted wine with botrytis, sweetness, balance and acidity of the highest quality grade. Great purity. I will easily keep it for 20+ years.
Raymond Lafon 2000 90p
Tasted twice - last time in September 2011. Consistent notes. September pickings were of high quality, but then the rain came and didn't stop for the remaining months of the year. Acacia honey, sweet pineapple, light but elegant with finesse. Very charming and lovely to drink now before the big vintages get mature.
Raymond Lafon 1999 95p
Tasted in April 2003. Pure delight! Fabulous botrytis, both sweet and "sour" at the same time. Incredibly nuanced rich, and sophisticated. What a length and structure. Will provide a lot of pleasure for the next ten years.
Raymond Lafon 1998 94p
Tasted in April 2003. This wine looks almost like an exact copy of 1997. Slightly less perfect botrytis, but other ingredients are of the same staggering quality. It's a true delicacy for Sauternes freaks.
Raymond Lafon 1997 96p
Tasted three times - last time in November 2012. Consistent notes. Wow, wow, how excellent this wine is! Perfect botrytis, perfect balance, acacia, mango and melon. Extremely complex and sophisticated. This wine is so classic that you must clap your hands. Pure elixir. Long-lived – at least until 2017.
Raymond Lafon 1990 95p
Tasted in October 2008. Quite alcoholic, botrytised lemon and citrus aromas, acacia flower, the splendid intensity of flavours on the nose, deep and full on the palate, long and refined. A classic example of Raymond Lafon, although in a heavier "dress" than usual. At least ten years more to go.
Raymond Lafon 1988 96p
Tasted in October 2008. One of my favourite vintages in Sauternes is hugely well-balanced, purely elegant, sophisticated and refined. Raymond Lafon suited this description perfectly in October 2008 and had very strong aromas of mandarins and candied fruit. On the palate, candied orange peel and citrus peel were supported extremely finely by acidity. A long-time keeper due to its extraordinary balance - 10-15 years more from now.