Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc (Futures Pre-Sale) 2018
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Barrel Sample: 97-98
Barrel Sample: 96-98
The grand vin is the 2018 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, which is mostly Sauvignon Blanc with 5% each of Sémillon and Sauvignon Gris, that’s being brought up in 50% new French oak. Deeper, richer, yet still racy and vibrant, it has gorgeous notes of tart pineapple, crushed citrus, salty minerality, and white flowers. Rich, concentrated, medium to full-bodied, it's unquestionably one of the whites of the vintage. Barrel Sample: 96-98.
Barrel Sample: 94-97
Barrel Sample: 94-96
You can feel a touch more ripeness here than in some years but they have beautifully captured flavours of fleshy yellow pears, freshly cut herbs and some slate and saline minerality. This should manage a long life and I am surprised here, as with a few whites this year, by the grip and sense of fun in the wine. It's not quite the 2017 again, but has its own claim for attention. 50% new oak. Technical director Fabien Teitgen said he started picking early because he was worried about losing acidity, but found it was actually much better than expected. 28hl/ha yield. Drinking Window 2022 - 2036. Barrel Sample: 94
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.