One of the idiosyncracies of this Pessac-Léognan vineyard is its sculptures. There's an enormous black hare bounding, a larger-than-life man being pecked by dozens of bronze birds and many more, each with its own symbolism. They are wonderfully entertaining but they should not detract from the real work that's occurred under the Cathiard reign.
The pair has eschewed conventional farming and the chemical inputs that it brings: herbicides have been off the menu since 1992, ploughing has been reintroduced, the estate produces its own organic compost and has achieved organic certification.
Red varieties make up more than four-fifths of Smith Haut Lafitte's total vineyard. Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for just over half of the total reds planted, with Merlot more than one-third. Cabernet Franc is around 10% and there's the merest smattering of Petit Verdot. There are just 11 hectares of white varietie; Sauvigon Blanc dominates (90%) with Semillon and Sauvignon Gris representing the remaining plantings. Approximately one-third of the vineyard has been uprooted since the Cathiard's arrival. Much of it has been replanted but a small portion was requisitioned for their luxury spa Les Sources de Caudalie. The couple also acquired neighbouring Château Le Thil in 2012 and converted it into a boutique 5-star hotel