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.
'The 2016 Smith Haut Lafitte is flat out stunning. Rich, ample and explosive, the 2016 possesses tremendous energy and tension to play off the wine's dark, rich fruit. I am not sure I have ever tasted a young Smith Haut Lafitte with such extraordinary balance. In 2016, the Grand Vin is tense and pulsing with energy. Hints of lavender, spice, menthol and crème de cassis open up in the glass, but the 2016 stands out for its feel and exceptional harmony. The combined effects of picking a bit early, vinifiying more gently and reducing the impact of oak are having a profound effect at Smith Haut Lafitte. Thinking of some of the highly regarded wines of the last decade here, the 2009 and 2010 in particular, well, the 2016 is on another level. This is magnificent showing from proprietors Florence and Daniel Cathiard, and their team led by Technical Director Fabien Teitgen. 2024-2046'
98 points, Antonio Galloni
"The 2016 Smith Haut Lafitte has a more discreet bouquet than I expected, and it takes a couple of minutes to open in the glass, revealing blackberry, briar, a touch of pressed iris and a wet limestone aroma. There is less tobacco than I expected, and a stonier style. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannin, perhaps the finest I’ve encountered in 20 years of visiting this estate. Very feminine and beautifully structured, and the 60% new oak is seamlessly assimilated. Extremely impressive and beguiling. This will be an irresistible Smith Haut Lafitte that gives 30 to 40 years of drinking pleasure. 2026-2066"
97 Points, Vinous
"The blackcurrant and blueberry aromas are lifted and beautiful. Lots of flowers, too, together with some mushroom and dried-flower undertones. Full-bodied with firm and very silky tannins giving a lovely texture. Bright acidity lifts the finish and gives it drive and force. Better after 2025."
97 Points, JamesSuckling.com
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.