Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Cru Classé Pessac Léognan, 2017

  Château Smith Haut Lafitte

Florence Cathiard referred to the 2016 vintage as 'the catastrophe that never was… everything turned out well in the end!’ She could have copied and pasted last year's repot for the 2017 - and we could just as easily have copied our notes from last year. This is yet another very smart Smith Haut Lafitte. This estate continues to produces sexy wines, but always preserves a sense of modesty and charm. The 2017 is fashioned from 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot and will be aged in 60% new oak barrels. This is so seductive, with lavish griotte notes, perfumed cassis, hints of gravel, cedar and tobacco. The palate is awash with pure black cherry, Kirsch and crème de cassis interspersed with liquid minerals and stones. Texturally this comes into its own. There is a generosity and decadence to the fruit. It is well delineated and focussed yet broad and mouth coating with beautifully integrated velour tannins laced with pure fruit. A beautifully crafted and thoroughly enchanting Smith Haut Lafitte.

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 | Cab. Franc | Petit Verdot

The full complement of permitted Bordeaux varieties (excluding the rarely used Carmenere & Malbec) and the classic left bank Bordeaux blend. The Cabernets and Merlots usually dominate the blend with small percentages of Petit Verdot blended in for colour, structure and complexity. Several producers outside of Bordeaux have tried to emulate this with a Bordeaux style blend of their own, a particularly successful example being Cain Cellars in the Napa Valley and their splendid Cain Five.