"...invigorating freshness, finishing long with mineral-tinged fireworks. Stunning!"
96-98+ POINTS - LISA PERROTTI-BROWN, THE WINE ADVOCATE (on 2019 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte)
Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte continues to be one of Pessac-Leognan’s most consistent performers with the 2019 vintage following in a long line of exceptional wines, getting more and more refined with every vintage.
Winemaker Fabien Teitgen has a great ability to dissect a vintage describing the 2019 as “the texture of 2009, but with more freshness in the aromas and more acidity, perhaps like 2015 for the aromas and 2017 for the acidity and the length… the Merlot is very dense and powerful and the Cabernet Sauvignon has a wonderful tannin structure producing a wine with very long length”. Tasting the 2019, it is easily one of the finest Pessac-Leognan reds of the vintage, if not one of the finest on the Left Bank.
The Chateau always adapts the fermentation and extraction to the quality of the grapes and the level of ripeness. This year with fantastic ripeness levels it decreased the fermentation and maceration temperature, as well as doing fewer punch-downs in order to end up with a very gentle extraction to get just the right tannins. This is fantastic precision winemaking in action.
Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte’s style is incredibly polished, producing an integration of tannins on par with the First Growths of the Medoc. The 2019 is plush, dense and beautifully structured, the tannin framework of the wine is exceptional, so precise, and there is real energy too.
The white Grand Vin from Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte is always something pretty special, but it has absolutely wowed the critics in 2019 and is the pick of the vintage for most. Fabien explains how the grapes provided a different style of Sauvignon Blanc in 2019, it has fatness but always with a good freshness; the Sauvignon Gris was really great this year and the Semillon was also very special with a lovely smooth texture. The combination has produced something truly epic.
"The blend this year is 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, harvested from the 17th of September to the 10th of October. The wine is aging in French oak barriques, 60% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2019 Smith Haut Lafitte is downright hedonic on the nose, rolling sensuously out of the glass with notions of warm cassis, chocolate-covered cherries, Black Forest cake and black raspberries with nuances of cinnamon toast, lilacs, camphor and iron ore. Medium to full-bodied, the palate juxtaposes remarkable energy and brightness with densely packed, rich, ripe black fruits, framed by wonderfully ripe, finely grained tannins and fantastically invigorating freshness, finishing long with mineral-tinged fireworks. Stunning!"
96-98+ POINTS - LISA PERROTTI-BROWN
"The blend this year is 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Sémillon, fermented in French oak, 50% new, within which it will age for 12 months on lees with batonnage. The Smith Haut Lafitte 2019 Blanc has a nose that unfolds in stages—offering intense white grapefruit, green mango, yuzu and orange blossoms scents to begin, giving way to hints of coriander seed, turmeric, shaved almonds and cedar chest with wafts of baking bread and beeswax coming through after some coaxing. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is wonderfully opulent with layers of citrus, stone fruit and savory flavors and a seductive oiliness to the texture, finishing very long and fantastically refreshing. Wow-o-WOW, that is good!"
96-98+ POINTS - LISA PERROTTI-BROWN, THE WINE ADVOCATE