Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc (Futures Pre-Sale) 2017
Blend: 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Semillon
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
This is fabulous white with sliced apples, pears, stones, flint and light cream. Really incredible. Full-bodied, yet so tight and polished with superb finesse and density at the same time. A fantastic Smith white. A blend of 90% sauvignon blanc, 5% sauvignon gris and 5% semillon. Drink or hold.
One of the whites of the vintage is the 2017 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, which is based on 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% each of Sauvignon Gris and Semillon. Offering a huge, salty, mineral-laced bouquet of crushed lemons, acacia flowers, pineapple, and crushed rocks, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, racy acidity, a stacked mid-palate, and a crisp, chiseled, lengthy finish that keeps you coming back to the glass. It has the fruit and texture to drink nicely even today, yet my money is on it benefiting from 2-4 years of bottle age, and it should have over two decades of longevity.
The 2017 Blanc prances out of the glass with pretty, cheerful scents of fresh green apples, lemongrass, lime leaves and white peaches plus spicy touches of fresh ginger, coriander seed and white pepper. Medium-bodied, the palate has fantastic intensity and tension, with a racy backbone cutting through the tightly knit citrus and spice layers, finishing long and mineral laced. Rating: 97+
This wine is distinct in its texture, with a mere hint of spice from wood. What makes it special is the harmony among perfume, acidity, texture and superb fruit. The wine finishes with a touch of saltiness. It needs plenty of time, don’t drink before 2022.
Juicy energy ripples from start to finish, with gooseberry, yellow apple, chamomile, tarragon and verbena notes giving this a tangy and flattering character. Reveals a long salted butter edge on the finish. Lovely now, but will fan out and become plumper with time. Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Sauvignon Gris. Best from 2021 through 2030.
Barrel Sample: 91-93
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.
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.
Sometimes light and crisp, other times rich and creamy, Bordeaux White Blends typically consist of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Often, a small amount of Muscadelle or Sauvignon Gris is included for added intrigue. Popularized in Bordeaux, the blend is often mimicked throughout the New World. Somm Secret—Sauternes and Barsac are usually reserved for dessert, but they can be served before, during or after a meal. Try these sweet wines as an aperitif with jamón ibérico, oysters with a spicy mignonette or during dinner alongside hearty Alsatian sausage.