Raymond Lafon

 

AN EXCEPTIONEL SAUTERNES

 

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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 situated in Sauternes commune, surrounded by so famous names like Lafaurie Peyraguey, d'Yquem and Suduiraut. Soil here is gravely on the surface and contains a mix of clay and limestones. The cépage is 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 3 years.

A perfect example, that Raymond Lafon aims more towards quality than quantity, is the fact that only grapes with sugar content corresponding to 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 most stable and demanded wines in the district. For me, Raymond Lafon is among the five best sweet wines in Bordeaux and represents an excellent value for the money.

In April 2012, Jean-Pierre Meslier arranged for me a vertical of 11 succesive 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, combaning 9 vintages of Raymond Lafon with food. It was marvellous experience!

Because of lower content of sugar in grapes, Meslier family decided not to produce Grand Vin in 2012 vintage. Instead, all production went into second wine, Jeunes Pousses de Raymon Lafon.

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Close-up of botrytised grapes

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Raymond Lafon 2015 (barrel sample) 95p

Tasted in April 2016. Refined and sophisticated, orange pell and pineapple, excellent sweetness, complexity and length. Rich. On the level with 2014.

Raymond Lafon 2014 95p

Tasted three times - last time in April 2016.  Consistent notes. Striking acidity, fresh oranges and peach, mango, grapefruit, citrus, great balance, complex and refined. Great effort for the vintage.

Raymond Lafon 2013 93p

Tasted three times - last time in April 2016. Consistent notes. Very elegant wine with much finesse, rich, excellent acidity, exquisite balance, great complexity and honeyed finish. Overshadowed by 2015, 2014 and 2011. 

Raymond Lafon 2011 95p

Tasted five times - last time in April 2016. 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 3 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 elleven times - last time in April 2016. Consistent notes. This property made an astonishing wine in 2009 – quite spectacular on the nose and palate with great range of botrytised flavours like almonds, pineapple, pear, apricot and acacia flower, exquisite sweetness and acidity. Extremely long on the palate with 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, strong and powerful on the palate, mineral, beautiful acidity and honeyed aftertaste. Stunning effort for the vintage.

Raymond Lafon 2006 92+p

Tasted nine times - last time in September 2013. Consistent notes. Catchy aromas of acacia flower/honey, nutty flavours (reduction - mature flavours), splendid acidity and fine balance. Lovely structure and fine concentration. 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 big intensity of flavours like fresh apples, apricots and wallnuts, 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 entire harvest went into Grand Vin - grapes were picked between 27th September and 7th October. It possessed extremely fine botrytis and intense aromatic nose of apricot, honey melon and acacia honey. On the palate, this wine was very deep, sophisticated and extremely complex. Acidity in this wine was simply impeccable and supported well excellent fruit. This is stunning wine. Kudos to Pierre Meslier!!!

Raymond Lafon 2003 99p

Tasted seven times - last time in March 2015. Consistent notes. 99.9% of entire harvest became Grand Vin!! Extremely intense nose of melasse, mango, candied mandarine peel, crème brulée. These botrytised flavors were incredible and deep. Extremely rich, unctuous and extremely long on the palate, with acidity matching perfectly gobs of sweetness. This was extraordinary stuff, pure extravaganza I say, 100%% legend and a perfect example of flamboyant style of Bordeaux stickies. I think those who criticize 2003 vintage for being too much sugar and having 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 entire harvest went into Grand Vin. Light golden, very elegant, open, delicate, acacia honey, lovely acidity, creamy texture and finesse. Extremely successful effort for the vintage. Will keep 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 highest quality grade. Fantastic purity. Will easily keep for 20+ years.

Raymond Lafon 2000 90p

Tasted twice - last time in September 2011. Consistent notes. September pickings were of high quality but then rain came and didn't stop for remaining months of the year. Acacia honey, sweet pineapple, light but elegant with finesse. Very charming and nice 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 10 years.

Raymond Lafon 1998 94p

Tasted in April 2003. This wine looks almost as an exact copy of 1997. Slightly less perfect botrytis but other ingredients are of same staggering quality. This is 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, spledid intensity of flavours on the nose, deep and full on the palate, long and refined. Classic example of Raymond Lafon, although in heavier "dress" than usual. At least 10 years more to go.

Raymond Lafon 1988 96p

Tasted in October 2008. This is one of my favourite vintages in Sauternes - extremely 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 in extremely fine way by acidity. A long time keeper due to its extraordinary balance - 10-15 years more from now.

 

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