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Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte 2003

Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
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0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2006

"Loads of blackberry and licorice with hints of meat and smoked oak. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and lots of very ripe and exotic fruit. Very exotic and wild. Rich finish. Best after 2009."
-Wine Spectator

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Loads of blackberry and licorice with hints of meat and smoked oak. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and lots of very ripe and exotic fruit. Very exotic and wild. Rich finish. Best after 2009
JS 93
James Suckling
A wonderful nose of spices, dark fruits, and hot stones in the vineyard. On the palate it has a full body, displaying power and solidity. Beautiful polished tannins, but this is still a bit young. You can drink this now, but it will be better if you pull the cork in 2013.
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A beauty of cassis, plum, tobacco leaf and spice, this dark plum/purple-hued, medium to full-bodied 2003 reveals sweet, round, cassis flavors. It has reached full maturity, but shows no signs of decline, and should continue to hold at this plateau for another decade. Although the 2003 is not up to the perfect levels of the 2009 and 2010, it is unquestionably a noteworthy success in a vintage that did not favor Pessac-Leognan.
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Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte

Château Smith Haut Lafitte

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Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
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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.

Pessac-Leognan

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Recognized for its superior reds as well as whites, Pessac-Léognan on the Left Bank claims classified growths for both—making it quite unique in comparison to its neighboring Médoc properties.

Pessac’s Chateau Haut-Brion, the only first growth located outside of the Médoc, is said to have been the first to conceptualize fine red wine in Bordeaux back in the late 1600s. The estate, along with its high-esteemed neighbors, La Mission Haut-Brion, Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pique-Caillou and Chateau Pape-Clément are today all but enveloped by the city of Bordeaux. The rest of the vineyards of Pessac-Léognan are in clearings of heavily forested area or abutting dense suburbs.

Arid sand and gravel on top of clay and limestone make the area unique and conducive to growing Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc as well as the grapes in the usual Left Bank red recipe: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and miniscule percentages of Petit Verdot and Malbec.

The best reds will show great force and finesse with inky blue and black fruit, mushroom, forest, tobacco, iodine and a smooth and intriguing texture.

Its best whites show complexity, longevity and no lack of exotic twists on citrus, tropical and stone fruit with pronounced floral and spice characteristics.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

LOA89313_2003 Item# 89313