'One can’t say enough about what proprietors Daniel and Florence Cathiard have accomplished at this estate since 1990. Regrettably, I am old enough to remember how horrible the wines were before the Cathiards purchased the property. They have fashioned one of the most consistently outstanding wines, both white and red, over the last two decades, and their 2009 probably eclipses any previous performance. An opaque purple color is followed by an explosive nose of graphite, black currants, licorice, incense, and a hint of black tea. The wine hits the palate with extraordinary density, unctuosity, and richness, yet it never comes across as heavy or overbearing. Deep and full-bodied with sensational concentration as well as remarkable purity and precision, this brilliant wine possesses the high, but sweet tannins that are a hallmark of the vintage, and exceptional delicacy allied to massive power and richness ... a rare combination indeed. This prodigious effort should drink well for 30-40 years. Bravo! 96-98+*/100'. - Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate #188
"The finest wine ever made by proprietors Daniel and Florence Cathiard, the 2009 Smith-Haut-Lafitte exhibits an opaque blue/purple color in addition to a glorious nose of acacia flowers, licorice, charcoal, blueberries, black raspberries, lead pencil shavings and incense. This massive, extraordinarily rich, unctuously textured wine may be the most concentrated effort produced to date, although the 2000, 2005 and 2010 are nearly as prodigious. A gorgeous expression of Pessac-Leognan with sweet tannin, emerging charm and delicacy, and considerable power, depth, richness and authority, it should age effortlessly for 30-40+ years. Bravo!" 100/100 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #199
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.
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.