Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Cru Classé Pessac Léognan, 2010

  Château Smith Haut Lafitte

Daniel and Florence Cathiard have rescued the fortunes of this estate. Daniel jokingly says that he was given the `61 and thought the wine was so good that he bought the estate. It was only when he had the keys that he discovered that `61 was an exceptional vintage. It's a good story, but we don't see through the self deprecation; this couple are amongst the most charming and also most astute in Bordeaux. The trio of Domaine de Chevalier, Haut Bailly and Smith Haut Lafitte have become the unofficial super seconds of Pessac Leognan. The quality at these estates now rival the established order and are some of the most thrilling wines to be found on either bank of the Gironde. The 2010 Smith Haut Lafitte offers heady floral notes, plums, violets, sweet mulberry fruit, griotte liqueur, high toned berries; fragrant complex and polished. The palate is awash with suave crème de mûre fruit, cassis, with notes of spice, pepper and sweet earth. Texturally, this is silky smooth and possesses a wonderfully refined modern sheen. There is a bristling energy and tension to the `10, which excites and is so moreish. Outstanding.

Contains Sulphites.

About Château Smith Haut Lafitte

Daniel and Florence Cathiard have taken this Pessac estate to the next level. The wines here outshine many of the top names from the more fashionable communes and are challenging the likes of Haut Bailly, La Mission and even Haut Brion for supremacy in the Graves. Their 2009 received a perfect 100 points from Robert Parker and we think the 2010 is even better. The style is pure seductive fruit and a silky texture; the quality is exceptional. Kudos to Daniel and Florence for turning this good, but slightly underperforming estate into one of the finest in Pessac Leognan.

Appellation: Pessac-Léognan

The region has one first growth, Château Haut-Brion, whilst other renowned Chateaux currently doing well are La Mission-Haut-Brion, Pape-Clément, Smith-Haut-Lafitte and Haut-Bailly. Soils are gravely and well-drained and the plantations are similar in proportion to those of the Médoc, consisting mostly of Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The region is also well known for its long-lived whites that can be varying blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon oaked or unoaked. The most lauded are Domaine de Chevalier, Haut-Brion, Pape-Clement, De Fieuzal, and Laville-Haut-Brion.

Grape Blend: Cab. Sauvignon | Merlot

A classic partnership. The stock left bank Bordeaux blend also used to good affect in the New World. Cabernet's, acidic, tannic complex qualities marry ideally with Merlot's sweet, softy flesh characteristics.