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 2020 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc is 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Sémillon. It fermented with indigenous yeasts in French oak, 50% new, within which it will age for 12 months on lees with bâtonnage before spending a further two to three months in tank. It prances out of the glass with vivacious notes of lime blossoms, Golden Delicious apples and green mango, plus hints of coriander seed, shaved ginger and wet pebbles. The medium-bodied palate possesses lovely harmony even at this nascent stage, featuring bright apple and citrus flavors with soft acidity and a chalky finish.
(94-96)+ points, Wine Advocate (May 2021)
This brings together depth and power, concentrated and hugely saline right from the start. Rich in texture, with layers of stone fruits from nectarines to white peaches, with a steely edge that squeezes through the fruit, holds interest and adds persistency. A delicious white wine with the point of bitterness on the finish adding another dimension. Average yields 29hl/ha for the whites. 50% new oak. Harvest started August 20, one of earliest on record, through to September 9th. Certified organic (AB) as of 2019 in the vineyard. Drinking Window 2022 - 2036
96 points, Decanter (May 2021)
Full bottle 1,355 g. Cask sample taken 22 April. 90% very ripe Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sémillon, 5% Sauvignon Gris. Harvest started 20 August but only ever until 11 am. Then they stopped to wait for acid levels to drop a little. Plot-by-plot picking. 45 parcels in 11 ha. 50% new oak. Pioneer of biodynamics and sustainability in Bordeaux.
Hugely seductive nose as usual. None of the obvious skinniness of Sauvignon Blanc. This is rich yet tangy on the nose and tastes as though it has quite a portion of Sémillon in the blend. Lanolin richness on the nose. Some richness on palate entry gives way to really fantastic vibrancy on the palate. Very much in the house style and a real triumph. Hint of mint. Already pretty gorgeous. Long.
17.5 points, JancisRobinson.com (April 2021)
A tight, phenolic white with light tannins that give the wine form and balance. It’s full-bodied and lightly chewy with dried apple, lemon and peach. Minerally and chewy. Flavorful. From organic grapes. 90 sauvignon blanc, 5% sauvignon gris and 5% semillon.
(95-96) points, JamesSuckling.com (May 2021)
The 2020 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc is compelling. Soft, silky and caressing, the 2020 is all charm and seduction. Ripe pear, apricot, white flowers, mint and a touch of new oak are all deftly woven together. Best of all, the 2020 will drink well pretty much upon release. It's a gorgeous wine in the making.
(93-95) points, Vinous (June 2021)
The 2020 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc was cropped at 29hl/ha and aged in 60% new oak barrels. It takes its time to unfurl on the nose, toying with the olfactory senses before revealing attractive honeysuckle, yellow flowers, jasmine, melon and very subtle chamomile scents, gaining intensity with aeration. The palate is very well balanced with an intense, concentrated opening, a little more viscous in texture than the Le Petit Haut Lafitte, deeper and a touch spicier. Veins of lemongrass and stem ginger appear toward the finish. This should drink well for 15–20 years. One of the best dry whites of the vintage.
(92-94) points, Vinous (May 2021)