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Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte 2011

Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
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13.5% ABV
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13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Château Smith Haut Lafitte Red 2012 offers a beautiful dark bright red colour with blue hue. The already expressive nose reveals very fresh notes of red fruits (strawberry, cherry) with a hint of smoke. Once aerated, the nose complexity appears with delicate notes of spices (star anise, liquorice, cinnamon), of red fruits as well as beautiful and elegant flower notes. Then the nose stretches outwith terroir aromas of flint stone and fireplace.

The attack in mouth is fresh and balanced with a fleshy and unctuous texture. The wine is a subtle balance between maturity and freshness: the maturity from the concentration, the impressive unctuosness, and the beautiful structure of long and classy tannins; the freshness from the tension. This wine is already reachable, fresh, harmonious and very elegant. This long mouth gives way to a fresh very bordelaise finale, a red fruit explosion. The palate is characterised by the freshness with crunchy red fruits, spices notes of liquorice, dry herbs and empyreumatic notes of fireplace and flint stone.

Blend: 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The grand vin, the 2011 Smith-Haut-Lafitte is another great successes (and that’s saying something after the remarkable duo of 2009 and 2010 as well as the brilliant 2008). This wine exhibits a dense purple color along with a big, sweet nose of creme de cassis, mulberries, licorice and subtle background oak. Full-bodied with silky tannins, nicely integrated acidity, wood and alcohol, a multilayered mouthfeel, and a finish that lasts 45 seconds, this brilliant wine should drink well for 15-20 years.

Rating: 94+ Points

JS 94
James Suckling
A wine that has a beautiful depth of fruit, with currants, minerals and dried flowers on the nose and palate. It’s full-bodied, with super-integrated tannins that last for minutes. This is muscular yet polished. Extremely well done for the vintage. Better in 2017.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Lush fig, boysenberry and blackberry pâte de fruit notes are interspersed with lively anise, singed apple wood and fruitcake details. A tarry echo hangs in the background on the finish. Shows impressive depth and ripeness for the vintage.
WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
This wine has density, with very dry, massive tannins. This is a wine for long-term aging; it has a solid texture, with its fruit well buried.—
Barrel Sample: 91-93 Points
JD 93
Jeb Dunnuck
The 2011 Smith Haut Lafitte plays in the same ballpark as the 2014, yet is slightly more concentrated, as well as backward. Blackcurrants, cedar, licorice and hints of oak all emerge from this medium to full-bodied, elegant, impeccably balanced beauty. It needs another year or two and will shine for over a decade.
Rating: 93+
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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.

SSA129249_2011 Item# 129249