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.
This is a solid red with a compact, tight palate of black fruit and currants, as well as very pretty, powerful yet polished tannins. This shows finesse with structure.
96-97 points, James Suckling, June 2020.
The aromatics are highly seductive, the texture silky and round, tannins relatively soft as they were in 2018, but lots of them, layering up one on top of the next. Violet rim around the edge, all the signs of an excellent quality En Primeur sample are here. Not quite as lush as the 2018, a little more like the 2016 in structure at this stage, boding well for the future. Refined in style with cassis and blueberry - good focus and concentration. Tasted twice, three weeks apart, and both times seriously impressive. 60% new oak, 1% Petit Verdot completes the blend. Drinking Window 2027 - 2042.
97 points, Jane Anson, Decanter, June 2020.
The 2019 Smith Haut-Lafitte was cropped at 36hl/ha, undergoing manual pigeage and maturation in 60% new barrels for a planned 18 months. It has an intense, very pure bouquet with blackberry, briary and cherry compote and a hint of black olive tapenade in the background. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grain tannins that frame the pure, mineral-infused black fruit. Undercurrents of graphite and black olive surface towards the complex finish that I feel is less opulent but maybe more sophisticated than recent vintages of this top performer. Very elegant and refined, this is an outstanding success for winemaker Fabien Teitgen and his team. Tasted twice including samples direct from the château.
96-98 points, Neal Martin, Vinous, June 2020.
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.