Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Cru Classé Pessac Léognan, 2018

  Château Smith Haut Lafitte

Florence Cathiard described her 2018 Smith Haut Lafitte as 'an iron first in a velvet glove'. This could be their mantra every year, but it is perhaps even more appropriate in 2018. There is still that wonderful glossy bouquet of griotte, Asian spice, smoke, toast, dark chocolate and liquorice we have come to expect from Fabien Teitgen's wines. The palate is packed with dark. earthy, chiselled fruit - there's huge density coupled with seductively sweet raspberry liqueur and juicy cassis. It is intense and chewy, powerful and nuanced, but the finish is pure dark fruit, lip-smacking Valrhona chocolate, smoke and touches of flint. The finish is extremely persistent - a proper vin de garde. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.

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.