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Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte 2012

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  • JS95
  • RP95
  • WE94
  • WS94
750ML / 14% ABV
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4.5 24 Ratings
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4.5 24 Ratings
750ML / 14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Château Smith Haut Lafitte Red 2012 offers a beautiful dark bright red color 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, licorice, 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. Thewine is a subtle balance between maturity and freshness: the maturity from the concentration, the impressive unctuosity and sugarity and the beautiful structure of long and classy tannins; the freshness from the tension, the dynamism and the aroma sparkle. The whole defines very well this wine, already reachable, fresh,harmonious and very elegant. This long mouth gives way to a fresh very bordelaise finale, a red fruit explosion. The aromatic is very close to that of the nose, characterized by the freshness with crunchy red fruits, spices notes of licorice, dry herbs and empyreumatic notes of fireplace and flint stone.

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

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WW 96
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
Easily one of the most opulent wines from Pessac-Léognan and perhaps in the world of international Cabernet Sauvignon blends from anywhere in the world; the 2012 Château Smith Haut Lafitte is a smashing success. The wine shows elegant black fruits and sweet oak in the aroma. On the palate, it is satisfying. Shows well now with braised short ribs. (Tasted: January 30, 2015, San Francisco, CA)
JS 95
James Suckling
Aromas of cream, cooked apples and pears follow through to a full body with toasted-oak, cream and vanilla character buttressed by plenty of fruit. So much peach and apricot character. This a bright and flamboyant wine for the vintage. One of the best dry whites. Drink or hold.
RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The opaque bluish-purple 2012 Smith Haut Lafite offers up notes of licorice, graphite, blueberry and blackberry fruit, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, stunningly ripe, velvety tannins and a long, long finish. This is another sensational effort from the Cathiards that is perfectly balanced, complex, super-rich and pure. Drink it over the next 20-25 years.
WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
This dark and dense wine is closed, with its tannins very dominant. It’s a solid, dark wine intense with juicy acidity, firm dry structure and a rich core. This is a magnificent wine for serious aging, with all the elements coming strongly into play. Drink from 2022. Cellar Selection.
WS 94
Wine Spectator
The layered fig, boysenberry and blackberry pâte de fruit notes are buttressed by ample, yet polished and integrated, ganache-coated tannins, while accents of black tea, ganache and tar course underneath. A really gorgeous display of fruit, showing terroir and cut on the finish. Best from 2018 through 2027.
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Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte

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Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, 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.

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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.

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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.

GNF139308_2012 Item# 139308