Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac Leognan Bordeaux Wine Complete Guide

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac Leognan Bordeaux Wine Complete Guide

Learn everything about Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac Leognan, with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairing tips. Learn the best vintages, a history of the property and information on the vineyards and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte History, Overview

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte has a long history in Bordeaux that dates back over 800 years. The estate started out life as part of the Du Boscq holdings in the Graves region. It was Du Boscq who planted vines in 1365 on a gravelly plateau called Lafitte. This is of course where part of the famous chateau took its name from.

Jumping ahead a few hundred years, George Smith bought the Graves estate in 1720. Smith added his name to the property, which we now know of as Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte.

Today, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte is owned and managed by Daniel Cathiard and Florence Cathiard. The Cathiard’s purchased the Bordeaux estate in 1990. They bought the estate from the well known, Bordeaux negociant and importer to America, Louis Eschenauer.

According to Daniel Cathiard, there were numerous estates in Bordeaux for sale at the time. But a big part of the reason they purchased Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte had to do with the fact that Smith Haut Lafitte is one of the few Bordeaux vineyards producing both red and white wines.

Florence Cathiard and Daniel Cathiard are both champion skiers who competed in the Olympics. They made their original fortune by creating a large chain of sporting goods stores.

The property also features a world class spa, Les Sources de Caudalie, which is in walking distance from the winery. They specialize in Vinotherapie, which uses grape extracts in many of their products and treatments. http://sources-caudalie

Prior to the arrival of the Cathiard family, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte was not known for producing high quality wine. It took a decade of hard work and serious investments before things began turning around here.

But starting in 2000, the wines clearly started showing a lot of improvement, with further, noticeable jumps in quality in 2005, 2008 and again in 2009, and in my eyes, once again 2010! You can add 2015 and 2016 to that growing list of top vintages as well.

One of the first changes the Cathiard family did once they took over Smith Haut Lafitte was to stop the practice of mechanical harvesting. In its place, they started handpicking their fruit. To avoid oxidization, the freshly picked grapes are placed in small trays. Specially designed ergonomic hods hold these trays until they are brought to the trailer.

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The unique system of ergonomic hods developed by Daniel Cathiard is based on a design used by Sherpas in the Himalayas. These unique hods allow the fruit to avoid breaking their skins before they arrive at the reception center for vinification.

Sorting is a major part of the work that takes place at Smith Haut Lafitte. During picking, an initial sorting takes place. A second manual sorting is done after destemming on a sorting table.

Daniel Cathiard and Florence Cathiard invested considerable sums of money into modernizing Smith Haut Lafitte. One of their first major decisions was in 1995 when they built their own cooperage, allowing them produce 70% of their own barrels in the exact manner they desired.

Their next move was to completely redesign and create all new, state of the art, wine making facilities. This trend continues today with the creation of the new, semi-secret wine cellars that are reached through a trap door located in the floor of their main tasting room.

At Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, they strive to stay on top of the latest technology available for Bordeaux wine makers. With the 2009 harvest, they were one of the first properties embracing the use of Oenoview satellite imagery system to assist in finding the perfect moment to begin harvesting their vineyards.

They also make use of the latest optical sorting technology. These efforts coupled with an outstanding vintage, allowed the chateau to produce their finest wine to date in 2009. For the 2015 vintage, the Cathiard family produced a special label celebrating their 25 years of ownership at Smith Haut Lafitte.

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Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking

The 78 hectare Pessac Leognan vineyard of Smith Haut Lafitte has 67 hectares planted to 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot for the red wine.

For the white Bordeaux wine of Smith Haut Lafitte, they have 11 hectares planted to 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Semillon. The white wine grapes are planted just behind the chateau and to the north. Here you find more clay and limestone in the soils for the white wine grapes.

For the red wine grapes, the terroir consists of deep gravel with the top surface covered in smaller quartz pebbles. Below that you find sand and limestone in their soil, with gentle slopes. The average age of the vines is close to 38 years of age. They have old vines which are close to 65 years of age. The vineyard is planted to a vine density ranging from 7,500 vines per hectare to 9,000 plants per hectare. Newer plantings are done at the higher level of vine density.

For the white wine grape varieties, the micro-climate is a bit cooler. The white wine grapes planted today are quite different than what you found in previous, older vintages. Prior to the purchase of Smith Haut Lafitte by the Cathiard family, the white wines were produced from 100% Sauvignon Blanc.

As you can see from the vineyard plantings, with the inclusion of Semillon and Sauvignon Gris, that is no longer the case. The wines now have more richness for this change in the plantings

On average, the vines are 38 years of age. For the white wines, they have old Sauvignon Blanc vines that are 60 years of age. The vine density ranges from 7,500 vines per hectare to 9,000 vines per hectare.

Unique to most of the great vineyards in Bordeaux, Smith Haut Haut Lafitte is in one large block of vines, which is then subdivided into 140 smaller parcels. The best part of the vineyard is located at the center, on the gravel plateau of Smith Haut Lafitte, which has a peak elevation of 40 meters. Here you find much of their best Cabernet Sauvignon vines planted.

At Smith Haut Lafitte, all work in the vineyard is organic and self sustainable. In fact, much of the farming techniques employed are with an eye to biodynamic farming techniques. Fabien Teitgen, the Technical Director for all the Cathiard properties is an integral part of their estate’s success.

Fabien Teitgen likes to keep up with any technical improvements and is clearly driven to produce the best quality possible is always on the lookout for ways to improve the wine at Smith Haut Lafitte from work in the vineyards, to efforts in the cellars. Recently, he began a program experimenting with whole cluster fermentation for a portion of their Merlot.

This means that some of the Merlot was vinified with their grape skins intact. Michel Rolland and Stephane Derenoncourt are used as consultants.

Smith Haut Lafitte Daniel Cathiard 300x216 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac Leognan Bordeaux Wine Complete Guide

For the vinification of the red wine for Smith Haut Lafitte, after sorting and pre fermentation cold maceration, the grapes are whole berry fermented in 30 large, temperature controlled, oak vats that range in size from 60 hectoliters up to 100 hectoliters.

A portion of the Merlot is vinified with the stems intact. Malolactic fermentation takes place in a combination of new, French oak barrels, older barrels and vats. All wine is moved by gravity in the cellars of Smith Haut Lafitte. The wine ages on its lees for the first few months of aging.

The red Bordeaux wine of Smith Haut Lafitte is aged in an average of 60% to 70% new, French oak barrels for between 16 to 18 months. On average 10,000 cases of Smith Haut Lafitte red wine are produced each vintage.

To produce the white wine of Smith Haut Lafitte, the grapes are whole berry fermented using a pneumatic press. There is no skin contact or malolactic fermentation. Vinification takes place in French oak barrels. The wines are aged on their fine lees for 12 months with stirring.

The white Bordeaux wine of Smith Haut Lafitte is aged in 50% new, French oak barrels for an average of 12 months prior to bottling. For Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, the production is close to 2,500 cases per year.

The best vintages of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge are: 2016, 2015, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005 and 2000. Smith Haut Lafitte is making the best wines under the ownership of the Cathiard family in the history of the estate. Older vintages can be risky to purchase today.

As you can see, the best vintages for the red wine and white wine of Smith Haut Lafitte can be different from time to time.

The best vintages of Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc are: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005.

Smith Rabbit Large 300x225 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac Leognan Bordeaux Wine Complete Guide

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte produces 2 second wines for their red wine. The blends are what differentiates the wines. Les Hauts de Smith is produced from an average blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. Le Petit Haut Lafitte is made from an average blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot.

Le Petit Haut Lafitte is made for export. Les Hauts de Smith is designed to be an earlier drinking wine that is sold to consumers and restaurants.

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte also makes two second wines for their white Bordeaux wine, Les Hauts de Smith Blanc, which is produced from 100% Sauvignon Blanc and Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc which is a blended wine that is made for export. The Cathiard family purchased Chateau Cantelys in 1994 and Chateau Le Thil more recently. Both estates are located close to Smith Haut Lafitte in the Pessac Leognan appellation.

When to Drink Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte needs time before it begins to show its true character. Smith Haut Lafitte needs at least 8-10 years of aging in good vintages until it is ready to be enjoyed. Young vintages can be decanted for 2-3 hours, or more. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume.

Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 12 and 30 years of age after the vintage.

Serving Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte is also good with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta.

The white wine of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte is best served with a myriad of different seafood dishes, shellfish, crab, lobster, sushi, sashimi, chicken, pork and veal, as well as Asian cuisine.

In July 2011, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte purchased a majority of the vineyard property belonging to the neighboring estate, Chateau Le Thil. 11.6 hectares of vines and 8.2 hectares of verdant parkland went to Smith Haut Lafitte. Much of that land is located next to Smith Haut Lafitte and was actually part of the original estate that was owned by Lodi Duffour Dubergier.

In essence, this reunited the original vineyards. Le Thil belonged to his nephew, from whom the de Laitre family is descended. The remaining vineyard land was sold to Les Carmes Haut Brion.

In July, 2014, the Cathiard family continues expanding their holdings in Bordeaux with the purchase of Chateau Beauregard in Pomerol and Bastor Lamontagne in Sauternes. The Pomerol and Sauternes properties were purchased in a partnership between the Moulin Family, the owners of the large, French chain of Galerie Lafayette stores and the Cathiard Family.

Château Smith Haut Lafitte Wine Tasting Notes

39 Vintages 305030 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating

2016Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)97 pts

With a good depth of color, the wine is almost opaque with dark purple accents. Espresso, smoke, black fruits, wet earth, licorice, truffle and dark chocolate come right out, when asked. Full bodied, fat and opulent, with serious density, length, character and tannins. The tannins are ripe, but this is going to need time in the cellar, even with all the ripe, supple fruits.The wine was made from a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, reaching 13.75% alcohol with a Ph of 3.7, the harvest took place from September 22 to October 12 and the Grand Vin represents just 40% of the harvest.

97 points - Tasted
2016Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)94 pts

White peach, honeysuckle, pie crust and lemon curd aromatics are all over the place. The wine is concentrated, the fruit is sweet and juicy, but a but more lift would have made this really rock. The wine was produced from a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Semillon, reaching 14% alcohol with a pH of 3.2.

94 points - Tasted
2016Château Smith Haut Lafitte Le Petit  (Pessac-Léognan)91 pts

Earthy, smoky, wet forest, licorice and dark plums, with good density, supple, textures and a tannic finish, with a bit of dryness in the end note. The second wine of Smith Haut Lafitte is produced for export from Les Hauts de Smith, as it is dominated by 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and paired with 40% Merlot. Earthy scents coupled with tobacco, coffee, black raspberry and plums reveal freshness in the fruit, softness in the tannins and a spicy, dark, red fruit finish.

91 points - Tasted
2016Château Smith Haut Lafitte Le Petit Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)90 pts

Waxy, lemon curd on the nose leads you to a citrus filled, medium bodied, early drinking wine you can drink on release.

90 points - Tasted
2015Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)97 pts

A seriously great wine from Smith Haut Lafitte. The wine has taken on additional nuances over the past year. It has filled out, softened and expanded. Dense, plush and character filled, this is one of the top wines ever produced at the property.

97 points - Tasted

With a good depth of color, this wine pops with black cherry liqueur, blueberry, licorice, smoke, truffle, cigar box and espresso notes in the bouquet. A fine purity of fruit with sweetness and ripe berries give you a wine that is not as flashy as 2009 or 2010, but there is focus, finesse, elegance, polished tannins, concentration and intensity of flavor, with the ability to age and improve. The wine was made from a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Reaching 13.75% alcohol with a pH of 3.7, the harvest took place from September 22 to October 12 and the Grand Vin represents just 40% of the harvest. Because 2015 is the 25th vintage for the Cathiard family, and it's the 650th year that wine has been made at the estate, the wine will be placed in a special bottle with a sharp looking black and gold label! 96 - 98 Pts

97 points - Tasted
2015Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)95 pts

Bright, crisp, fresh, vibrant, yellow, citrus fruit with a hit of vanilla, flowers, stone and honey to complicate matters. Full bodied, round and lush, drink it young, or age it, either way, this is really quite nice.

95 points - Tasted

Ripe, vibrant, zesty citrus, honeysuckle and vanilla with a lingering touch of honey and vanilla bean in the finish, this wine leaves an enjoyable, lasting impression. The wine reached 13.75% Alcohol with a pH of 3.2. The wine was made from a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Semillon. The harvest took place from August 31 to September 19.

95 points - Tasted
2015Château Smith Haut Lafitte Le Petit Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)91 pts

Using 80% Sauvignon Blanc along with 20% Semillon, this wine offers lemon curd, succulent grapefruit, honeydew and waxy, citrus rind. It is Juicy, sweet, fresh and ripe and should be delicious upon release.

91 points - Tasted
2015Château Smith Haut Lafitte Le Petit  (Pessac-Léognan)90 pts

The second wine of Smith Haut Lafitte is produced for export from Les Hauts de Smith, as it is dominated by 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and paired with 40% Merlot. Earthy scents coupled with tobacco, coffee, black raspberry and plums reveal freshness in the fruit, softness in the tannins and a spicy, dark, red fruit finish. 89 - 91 Pts

90 points - Tasted
2014Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)95 pts

Clearly better in the bottle, than when last tasted in barrel, the wine has gained complexity, depth and softness. Full bodied, fleshy and concentrated, with loads of juicy, sweet, ripe, fresh, dark fruits, smoke, licorice and oak, 4-6 years of bottle age will add a lot to this already tasty wine.

95 points - Tasted

With a deep color and a spicy-fruit-cigar-box sensation, the black and red fruits really shine through. There is a plush character to the texture with newness and lift, a touch of oak and sweet, ripe, spicy berries in the finish. From a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.7% alcohol with a pH of 3.7. 93-94 Pts

94 points - Tasted
2014Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)94 pts

Honeysuckle, lemon peel, vanilla and just squeezed grapefruit notes are all over the place in this concentrated, luscious, remarkable combination of sweetness and acidity. There is length, character and persistence here.

94 points - Tasted

The wine pops with sweet citrus, honeysuckle and vanilla notes. Ripe, zesty with fresh citrus and a lingering touch of honey and vanilla bean in the finish make a nice impression. From a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Semillon and 5% Sauvignon Gris, the wine reached 13.7% alcohol with a pH of 3.2. 94 Pts

94 points - Tasted
2014Château Smith Haut Lafitte Le Petit Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)89 pts

Citrus, honeydew, pomelo and freshness make for pleasant, easy drinking, refreshing wine. 89 Pts

89 points - Tasted
2013Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)94 pts

One of the richer textured white Bordeaux wines of the vintage, the flamboyant, vanilla, spice, pineapple, white peach, meyer lemon and grapefruit aromatic display is completed with the display of luscious, white fruits and slightly honeyed, citrus in the finish

94 points - Tasted

With good density, freshness and length, there is a blast of fresh-squeezed lemon, lime, vanilla and grapefruit that carries through from start to finish along with the perfect amount of freshness and lift to keep the wine lively and refreshing. 94-95 Pts

94 points - Tasted
2013Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)91 pts

With a deep color for the vintage, the forward styled wine displays its smoke, roasted coffee, black cherry and earthy profile with ease. This should drink well on release.

90 points - Tasted

With a spicy dark berry, smoke, earth and tobacco personality, the wine is plush, soft and fresh, ending with sweet black raspberries. Quite nice for the vintage. 91-93 Pts

91 points - Tasted
2012Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)94 pts

Medium/full bodied, with an earthy, truffle, smoky, espresso, blackberry, plum and dark cherry filled nose. Soft, plush and polished, the ripe, sweet fruits linger on your palate.

94 points - Tasted

From 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.6% alcohol with a pH of 3.7 and will be aged in 60% new French oak for between 16 to 18 months. Deep in color with a smoky nose complicated by licorice, coffee, dark cherry and earthy aromas, the wine is fat, lush and dense. Supple tannins and fresh, round dark fruits create a long, rich, opulent finish. The Grand Vin represents about 50% of the harvest. 93-96 Pts

94 points - Tasted
2012Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)94 pts

Fresh honeydew melon, orange blossoms, grapefruit and fresh squeezed lemon with a dash of honey are found in the nose. On the palate, the wine is ripe, long and lively.

94 points - Tasted

Blending 90% Sauvignon with equal parts Semillon and Sauvignon Gris, the wine will be aged in 50% new French oak. Grapefruit, lime, lemon, vanilla, guava and banana scents require little effort to find. Rich, fleshy and concentrated with balancing acidity and freshness, the long and fresh citrus finish refreshes and expands. 93-95 Pts

94 points - Tasted
2012Château Smith Haut Lafitte Le Petit  (Pessac-Léognan)88 pts

The second wine of Smith Haut Lafitte is produced for export and interestingly, it’s the opposite of Les Hauts de Smith, as it’s dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, with the rest of the blend made from 45% Merlot. Coffee bean, licorice and black cherry notes open to a tannic, dark cherry-filled wine, which will need a few years before it is ready to drink. 87-89 Pts

88 points - Tasted
2011Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)95 pts

With a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Semillon and 5% Sauvignon Gris, the wine popped with vanilla bean, smoke, citrus, apple, stone and spicy tones. Rich, soft, fresh and refreshing, the wine finished with pomello and lemon peel in the crisp finish.

94 points - Tasted

Blending 90% Sauvignon Blanc with equal parts Semillon and Sauvignon Gris, the wine will be aged in 50% new oak. Fresh-squeezed lemon, honeysuckle and grapefruit in the nose, which opens to a fleshy, mineral-driven, lively, concentrated and fresh citrus oil finish tinged with vanilla. 94-96 Pts

95 points - Tasted
2011Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)93 pts

From an assemblage of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and a drop of Petit Verdot, the wine will be aged in 60% new oak. This is a deep, dark-colored Pessac Leognan with a perfume offering licorice, coffee, earth and jammy black raspberry. Rich, full-bodied, plush and intense, the wine ends with a fresh, long, floral and sweet finish with spice, espresso and black cherry. 92-94 Pts

93 points - Tasted
2010Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)98 pts

This is showing better than ever. It's lush, opulently textured, intense, yet with a good purity of fruit and elegant, silky tannins. Still young, the wine is inky dark in color, with a primary character, but the last few years have helped the wine fill out and expand. This is about potential, but it's clear that this is going to be something special when it matures.

97 points - Tasted

Dark in color, smoke, licorice, truffle, tobacco and chocolate scents get you going. Thick, rich, intense, concentrated and deep, the intense finish is packed with sweet, ripe, dark, sweet, boysenberries and even darker chocolate. This is even better than when tasted earlier this year.

98 points - Tasted

What a nose! Smoky blackberries, exotic spices, blueberries, licorice, jam, tobacco, olive tapenade and forest scents are impossible to avoid. The wine is incredibly concentrated, balanced, polished, sensuous and sexy. This blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot should age and improve for decades.

98 points - Tasted

Smith Haut Lafitte 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc and a dollop of Petit Verdot formed the assemblage. Deeply colored and filled with smoke, cassis, jam and licorice coated dark berry aromas, this rich, juicy, concentrated wine ends with a long opulent, fat, sweet, jammy black fruit and vanilla finish. 94-95 Pts

95 points - Tasted
2010Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)97 pts

Intense, attention seeking notes of lemon, lime, flowers and stone open to a wine with depth, richness and concentration. The wine is long, fresh, plush and polished with plush textures and a mélange of citrus and mineral sensations. There is a purity to the sweet fruits that remain on your palate for close to 40 seconds.

97 points - Tasted
2009Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)97 pts

Like all great wines, this keeps getting better as it ages. Fat, rich, ripe, juicy, lush, opulent, round and dense, the wine is packed with ripe blackberries, plum, espresso, spice, earth and cigar wrapper. While this is good now, it's going to be much better with age as the wine gains in complexity and pulls together.

97 points - Tasted

This is a property on a roll. Using slightly less oak has allowed more freshness and purity to shine through. Licorice, chocolate, juicy black plum liqueur and espresso scents create the perfume. There is a beautiful sensation of pure, rich fruit, freshness and sensuous textures. It’s a step up from every previous vintage produced by the Cathiard’s and Fabien Teitgen. As hard as it is to believe, their 2010 could end up a better wine!

96 points - Tasted

2009 Smith Haut Lafitte is dark ruby. Its nose is of truffle, earth, spice, smoke, coffee, berry and caramel. Full bodied and filled with ripe, fleshy, opulently textured fruit. If all the oak fully integrates (and I suspect it will), this will be a very strong wine. The fleshy finish has elements of chocolate, coffee, dark berries, and pit fruits. 94/96 Pts

95 points - Tasted
2009Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)95 pts

Rich, fat, ripe and very ripe fruits with vanilla, grapefruit, citrus rind and minerality notes. Long, refreshing and concentrated, this is a charmer.

95 points - Tasted

Opening with strong sensations of pineapple, green apple, melon and stone, this assemblage of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Semillon and 5% Sauvignon Gris creates a concentrated, opulent, rich, fresh, long, ripe, citrus and vanilla tinged finish.

94 points - Tasted
2008Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)93 pts

Oak, smoke, tobacco and ripe, sweet, dark fruits with a hint of cocoa open the wine. Air definitely helped the wine show better. It's still quite young today. Soft, round and smooth in texture, with good concentration of flavor, due to very low yields of only 24 hectoliters per hectare, the wine needs another 3-5 years to unfurl its full array of charms.

92 points - Tasted

Deeply colored, the wine offers powerful scents of licorice, smoke, spice, fresh blackberry jam and earth. Rich, ripe, round and delicious, this blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc needs only a few more wines before it starts to strut its stuff. It should drink well young.

93 points - Tasted

Smoke, flowers, BBQ, cassis, blackberry, oak and vanilla scents are found in the perfume. The wine offers supple textures and a dark berry, cherry and coffee flavored finish.

91 points - Tasted

08 Château Smith-Haut Lafitte shows pungent aromatics of oak, blackberry, tar, and spice. In the mouth, the wine is plush and fat, finishing with a blast of ripe black and red fruits. 92-95 Pts

93 points - Tasted
2008Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)90 pts

With a strong blast of vanilla, toast, grapefruit, lemon peel, butter and green apple, the wine has richness and concentration. Forward and developed, this is ready for prime time drinking today.

90 points - Tasted
2007Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)94 pts

Fresh scents of citrus oil, lemon wax, grapefruit, lime and white peach. Rich, full bodied and mouth filling, this voluptuous, ripe, white Bordeaux wine ends with a vibrant, spicy, citrus filled finish.

94 points - Tasted
2007Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)90 pts

Smoke, espresso and incense, with, earthy, red and dark plums in a medium bodied, fresh, round, sweet style. Fully developed, this requires drinking.

90 points - Tasted
2006Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)93 pts

Medium/Full bodied, structured, tannic concentrated style of wine, with a smoke, oak black cherry, licorice and earthy, truffle nose, finishing with a fresh, lively blast of blackberries, spice, espresso and thyme.

93 points - Tasted

Earthy, smoky and soft, with black cherry, plum, tobacco and espresso notes in the nose, this is just starting to open and display its soft, round charms. A few more years should add more complexity and silk.

92 points - Tasted

Smoke, blackberry liqueur, black cherries, tobacco, vanilla and earthy scents mix well with the lush, round, soft textures and the deep, licorice, vanilla and sweet, dark plum filled, stylish finish.

92 points - Tasted
2006Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)93 pts

This wine opens with a lychee, sweet candied nose is very concentrated and filled with ripe fruit. This thick, Bordeaux Blanc ends with an intriguing lemon, lime note that lasts over :30.

93 points - Tasted
2005Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)94 pts

Coffee, smoke, baked cherries, tar, caramel and thyme open the nose. Combining round textures with freshness, this can be enjoyed now, as you can see from the secondary notes, if you allow it an hour or two of air. But a few more years will add more softness and complexity along with additional time to integrate the oak into the wine.

94 points - Tasted

Smoke, coffee, licorice and spicy, blackberry jam notes open this concentrated wine. The wine is rich with lush, ripe, berries, but the oak remains noticeable. There is a touch of dryness in the dark berry and vanilla finish. Hopefully, the oak will dissipate with more bottle age. If the oak becomes better integrated, the wine will deserve a much higher score.

92 points - Tasted

This kicks into high gear with its spicy cassis, chocolate, espresso, vanilla bean, smoke and blackberry scented nose. This full bodied, fat, rich, supple, concentrated wine offers offers a long flashy, dark berry filled finish.

94 points - Tasted

Dense, thick, rich with a strong palate note of intense, black cherry. Very ripe. While this can be enjoyed young, 10 years will really bring it together. Better than the 2000.

93 points - Tasted
2005Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)87 pts

Showing a golden hue, the wine, with its apple pie and apple and cashew notes tastes like a 20 year old wine that is fading. Based on this bottle, this requires consumption.

87 points - Tasted
2004Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc  (Pessac-Léognan)92 pts

Fat, lush and sweet, with a vanilla, lemon, grapefruit and waxy nose, with a honeyed, citrus and vanilla finish, this is ready to drink.

92 points - Tasted
2004Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)91 pts

From a magnum, which could explain the wines youthful qualities, there is a richness to the fruit for the vintage that stands out. The nose serves up smoke, licorice, black cherry, earthy, oak and wet forest scents. The texture is smooth and the dark, spicy fruits come through in the finish. This is ready for prime time drinking.

91 points - Tasted

Very supple, lots of energy and ample ripeness that ends with with a chocolate covered, ripe, black raspberry finish.

90 points - Tasted
2003Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)90 pts

Gently entering its state of decline. With air, the wine loses its freshness and soft textures. While there is still some dark red cherries, blackberry, truffle and smoke character remaining, this is best consumed sooner than later

90 points - Tasted

Smoke, licorice, black cherry, tobacco, earth, coffee and herb notes create the perfume. Close to mature, the round, soft textured wine ends with blackberries, cherry and fresh herbs.

90 points - Tasted
2002Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)90 pts

The wine opens with notes of espresso, dark chocolate, licorice, red and black plums with a nice earthy note. Soft textured, medium bodied and ready to drink, the wine finishes with dark red berries and coffee bean sensations.

90 points - Tasted
2001Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)92 pts

Open, accessible and already delivering its ample charms, lots of smoke, tobacco, coffee, blackberry, earth, vanilla and black raspberry flavors mesh perfectly with the wine's soft, supple textures. This blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Franc should age and improve for at least another 10-15 years.

92 points - Tasted
2000Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)91 pts

Oak, smoke, coffee, blackberry and earthy scents, full bodied, soft, round tannins and a plum filled are found in this Pessac Leognan. The wine is slightly marred by too much oak. The level of quality found in the wines being made today at Smith Haut Lafitte is at a much higher level.

91 points - Tasted

This kicks off with jammy, black fruit, oak and licorice notes. The wine is polished, round and clean, ending with soft, sweet black fruit flavors.

91 points - Tasted
1998Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)90 pts

This is drinking in a good place today. The nose, with its espresso, smoke, licorice, truffle and dark red berry scents has a lot to offer. Medium/full bodied and round in texture, the wine ends with black cherries, thyme and coffee notes in the lush finish.

90 points - Tasted
1995Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)90 pts

The first good vintage for the new owners is fully mature. The nose with its tobacco, wet earth, leaf, cherry and forest aromatics is my favorite part of the experience. There is some roughness and sharpness to the texture in the medium/full bodied finish.

90 points - Tasted
1934Château Smith Haut Lafitte  (Pessac-Léognan)85 pts

This special, older bottle offered cherry pipe tobacco, tar, smoked herbs, truffles and fresh forest floor aromatics. Medium boded, but elegant and balanced, this charming older wine finished with a short, cherry tinged ending. This bottle was sold to me as a 1926. But to say not much was of the label remained is being charitable. When the bottle was opened, the cork showed the wine to be from 1934. But as you can see from my notes, the bottle was sound. And even better, 1934 is my dad's birth year! This is one of those mistakes that turned out much better than anticipated.

85 points - Tasted