Dating back over 800 years in the Bordeaux region, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte is owned today by Daniel and Florence Cathiard. The estate also features a world class spa, which specialises in Vinotherapie - using grape extracts in many of their treatments.
Up until the year 2000, the estate was not known for producing top quality wines, however in the capable hands of the Cathiard family and after over a decade of hard work and reinvention, the wines truly began to come into their own. It has been, in the words of Andrew Caillard, “an astonishing ascendancy in the past 15 years”, and given the sterling reviews the 2016 vintage has received, its trajectory seems set to continue its meteoric rise.
95-97/100 Robert Parker Jr. 2010: A qualitative home run, right up there with the profound 2005 and more opulent 2009, Smith-Haut-Lafitte has turned in a remarkable performance in this vintage, but then again, so have many other chateaux. A blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, the wine has an inky/purple color and an extraordinary nose of graphite, blackberries, cassis, licorice, smoke, and camphor. The unbelievable skyscraper-like texture, stunning purity, and formidable intensity make for a remarkably rich, long, full-bodied wine that is classic Graves, but at the same time a staggering 2010.
Wine Advocate (Neal Martin) 93-95/100 With a pH of 3.62, the Grand Vin is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, the bouquet is very intense and focused, stricter than the 2009 last year with blackberry, a touch of cassis and a hint of boysenberry. Fine delineation, the mineralité beginning to emerge after one minute in the glass. One is immediately struck by the almost citrus-like freshness on the entry, tight at first but then fanning out beautifully across the mouth towards the wonderfully structured finish that has more tension than it knows what to do with. Very persistent, very long. Tasted twice with consistent notes.
James Suckling 95-96/100 Wonderful aromas of currants, berries and minerals. Very stoney. Full bodied, with an intense and dense palate structure. Loads of blackberries, sweet tobacco and hot stones. Long finish. We will see if it’s better than the 2009 or not.
Wine Spectator (James Molesworth) 93-96/100 Really ripe, but with great focus, as linzer torte, blackberry, plum sauce and anise notes are woven tightly together, all carried by tar and graphite, with a long, seamless finish.
Though wine has been made in Pessac-Léognan since ancient Roman times, it was only in 1987 that the neighbouring villages of Pessac and Léognan were singled out from the surrounding Graves region and given their own appellation. The designation acknowledges that Pessac-Léognan is home to the most acclaimed properties of Bordeaux’s Graves region, such as the Premier Cru Château Haut-Brion.
The vineyards of Pessac-Léognan, just south of the city of Bordeaux, are crowded by suburban sprawl. About 3,000 acres are dedicated mostly to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grown for red wines, with a small portion devoted to Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and other grapes for white wines. Pessac-Léognan red wines are elegant and concentrated, with medium to full body. They offer distinct aromas and flavours of mineral and earth, and can have lush fruit or smoky tobacco character. Pessac-Léognan white wines are dry, unlike the famous sweet white wines from nearby Sauternes. They are generally crisp and minerally with citrus notes, often with rich character from oak aging and capable of improving with additional age.