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Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte 2008

Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
  • JS93
  • RP92
  • WE92
  • WS91
0% ABV
  • WS98
  • RP98
  • WE98
  • JS98
  • WS97
  • RP97
  • WE97
  • WW96
  • JS96
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
JS 93
James Suckling
What a nose here. Dark chocolate, raspberries, blueberries and mineral aromas. Full bodied, with ultra-polished tannins and a long, long finish. Wonderfully structured. Classy. Try it after 2014.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
One of the stars of the vintage, this elegant, smoky wine has hints of barbecue pit intermixed with sweet black currants and cherries. Dark purple and medium to full-bodied, its impressive finesse and wonderful purity make for a surprisingly forward style of Smith-Haut-Lafitte to drink over the next 15 or so years.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
An elegant wine, smooth and rounded, bringing out smoky fruits over tannins that smooth out as the fruit unfolds. Less opulent than some previous vintages, the wine shows restraint and aging potential.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
This expressive red shows intensity with grace, balancing pure black cherry, mineral and tobacco flavors with toasty oak and fresh acidity. The tannins are firm but ripe, fading to a floral, smoky finish.
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Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte

Château Smith Haut Lafitte

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Château Smith Haut Lafitte, , France - Bordeaux
Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte
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.

By far the largest and best-known winemaking province in Argentina, Mendoza is responsible for over 70% of the country’s enological output. Set in the eastern foothills of the Andes Mountains, the climate is dry and continental, presenting relatively few challenges for viticulturists during the growing season. Mendoza is divided into several distinctive sub-regions, including Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley—two sources of some of the country’s finest wines.

For many wine lovers, Mendoza is practically synonymous with Malbec, originally a Bordelaise variety brought to Argentina by the French in the mid-1800s. Here it found success and renown it never could have achieved in its homeland due to its struggle to ripen fully in finicky climates. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, and Pinot Noir are all widely planted here as well (and often blended with one another. The best white wines are made from Chardonnay, and there are excellent examples to be found as well from Torrontés, Sauvignon Blanc, and Sémillon.

Known for its big, bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec is most famous for its runaway success in Argentina. However, the variety actually originates in Bordeaux, where it historically contributed color and tannin to blends but was susceptible to viticultural problems. After being nearly wiped out by a devastating frost in 1956, it was never significantly replanted, although it did flourish under the name Côt in nearby Cahors. Malbec was brought to Argentina in 1868 by a French agronomist who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, but did not gain its current reputation as the national grape of Argentina until a surge in popularity in the late 20th century thanks to its easy-going drinkability.

In the Glass

Malbec typically expresses deep flavors of freshly turned earth, black fruits from berries to plums, and licorice, appropriately backed by dense, chewy tannins. In warmer, New World regions, such as Mendoza, it can be quite intense and often needs time to mellow before becoming drinkable. In the Old World, its rusticity shines, with aged examples showing dusty notes of leather and tobacco. The best examples in all regions often possess a beguiling bouquet of violets.

Perfect Parings

Malbec’s rustic character begs for flavorful dishes, like spicy grilled sausages or the classic cassoulet of France’s Southwest. South American iterations are best enjoyed as they would be in Argentina: with a thick, juicy steak.

Sommelier Secret

If you’re trying to please a crowd, Malbec is generally a safe bet. With its combination of bold flavors and soft tannins, it will appeal to basically anyone who enjoys red wine. Malbec also wins bonus points for affordability, as even the most inexpensive examples are often quite good.

WTRSHLAFITTE_2008 Item# 130655

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