Château Smith-Haute-Lafitte dedicate 11 hectares of their vineyards in Graves to white wine production. In 1990, Olympic ski champions Daniel and Florence Cathiard purchased the Château and revolutionised its production, reducing the amount of intervention in the winemaking and planting two extra white grape varieties, which has greatly increased the desirability and complexity of the label’s blanc. Sauvignon Blanc dominates in the vineyard, with small parcels of Sauvignon Gris and Semillon.??
Grapes are whole berry fermented, and no skin contact or malolactic fermentation takes place. They are aged on lees for a year with stirring, then aged in 50% new oak.
"The 2016 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc offers a complex, intoxicating bouquet of grapefruit, mirabelle and Japanese yuzu infused with crushed stone; touches of strawberry develop in the mouth. The palate is very well balanced and full of tension, and the lip-smacking acidity is very well judged. Very focused and brimming with energy right to the finish, when you request "more, please." Divine. 2022-2045"
95 Points, Vinous
"Fabulous aromas of white-peach pie, lemon, grapefruit and cream. Complex. Full-bodied, dense and linear. Bright and creamy texture. Gorgeous grace and complexity. Lasts for minutes."
97 Points, JamesSuckling.com
The white of the vintage is the 2016 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc. It’s a magical elixir based on 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris, and 5% Sémillon that was brought up in 50% new oak. Deep, layered, and powerful, yet also vibrant, it has sensational notes of crushed citrus, liquid rock, white flower, lime pith, and honeyed grapefruit. It shows the classic, balanced style of the vintage yet offers thrilling depth and concentration and is a tour de force in white Bordeaux. Drink it any time over the coming two decades. Get it if you can!
99 points, jebdunnuck.com (February 2019)
The Smith Haut Lafitte 2016 Blanc is a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Sémillon matured in 50% new oak. It reveals gregarious pineapple and green guava notes giving way to tantalizing fresh grapefruit and green apples scents plus wafts of orange blossom, crushed rocks and honey drizzled peaches. Medium to full-bodied with a gorgeous satiny texture, the palate is jam-packed with tropical and citrus flavors, finishing long and deliciously savory.
96 points, Wine Advocate (December 2018)
The 2016 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc is impressive, but also very closed today. That should not be much of an issue in a few years' time, but readers should not plan on opening bottles any time soon. Today, the 2016 impresses for its depth and mineral-infused explosive energy. There is real depth to the grapefruit, lemon peel and floral flavors, but patience is essential.
94+ points, Vinous (January 2019)