Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte 2005
Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
Château Smith Haut Lafitte's great terroir of deep Gunzian gravel, with old vines sinking several metres into the soil, produced stupendous results: the wines have a concentration, texture, and class never before seen.
Blend: 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet franc, 1% Petit Verdot.
The Wine Advocate - "One can’t say enough about the accomplishments the Cathiards have achieved at this property since 1990. Prior to their purchase of the property, appallingly diluted, vegetal, fruitless, charmless wines were produced, but they have turned Smith-Haut-Lafitte into a showcase Pessac-Leognan. The inky/blue/purple-tinged 2005's extraordinary nose reeks of charcoal, incense, scorched earth, abundant blackberry, blueberry, and cherry fruit, toast, and spice. Good acidity, huge but sweet tannin, and fabulous precision as well as definition characterize this full-bodied, super-concentrated effort. It should prove to be among the longest-lived wines yet made by the Cathiards. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030+."
Wine & Spirits - "The Cathiards have invested heavily in this property since they purchased it in the early 1990s. It is one of the great terroirs of the Graves, a raised plateau of gravel where the vines produce a rich and powerful wine. That power is amplified in a vintage like 2005 into a huge, cassis-driven red with the velvet feel of a favorite childhood pillow. The Cathiards do not spare the new oak, a character that dominates this young wine, while the fruit underneath feels healthy and clean, vibrating with tension, set for a long life ahead."
Wine Spectator - "Very grapey, with black licorice and mineral character. Full-bodied, with hints of new wood and spices. Big and velvety. This is balanced and very silky, with harmonious yet chewy tannins. This is a different style from the 2003, but it's equally impressive. A wonderful young wine. Best after 2013. 8,000 cases made."
International Wine Cellar - "Good fresh red-ruby color. Reticent but pure aromas of plum, mocha and tobacco. This began sweet and dense but a bit sullen, then exploded with aeration to show sharply delineated flavors of plum, tobacco, hot stones and smoked meat. Wonderfully fat and full wine that spreads out on the back to saturate the entire palate. This makes the '07 seem peppery and high-pitched in comparison. Very long on the aftertaste. I asked technical director Teitgen to name his favorite recent vintages in Pessac-Leognan, and he listed 1998, 2001 and 2005."
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Château Smith Haut Lafitte Winery
Thanks to its 55 hectares of superb gravelly vineyards, Smith Haut Lafitte is often referred to as the "archetypical Graves." The estate's history goes back to the Crusades, and a Scottish navigator, George Smith, who became the owner of the estate in the 18th century. He was followed by M. Duffour-Dubergier, Mayor of Bordeaux, and then Louis Eschenauer, a famous wine shipper.
In 1990, Daniel and Florence Cathiard also fell under the spell of this beautiful estate. Since then, they have restored the 16th century tower, renovated the 18th century manor house, built two underground cellars, went back to traditional vine growing methods without chemical herbicides and set up their own cooperage. The perfect elegance, excellent balance and fine structure of Smith Haut Lafitte's red and white wines are the ultimate reflection of the current owners' total commitment to quality. View all Château Smith Haut Lafitte Wines
About Pessac-LeognanView a map of Pessac-Leognan wineries (PEH-sak lay-ohn-yawn)
One of the top appellations within Graves, Pessac-Léognan is home to the only Graves chateau listed as a first growth in the 1855 Médoc classification – Chateau Haut-Brion. In fact, praise for the chateau dates back to the days of Thomas Jefferson, when, upon visiting the chateau in 1787, he bought 125 bottles for his cellar in Virginia.
The majority of wines made here are red, but Pessac-Léognan is also known for producing some of the finest dry white wines of Bordeaux. Many of the top chateau, like Chateau Haut Brion and Chateau Mission Haut Brion, produce top-quality whites alongside their red. Other Chateaux, like Smith Haut Lafite and Carbonnieux, are better known for their distinguished white wines than reds. Both colors of wine from this region have the specific tastes of the gravelly soil where it's grown.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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