Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac Leognan 2012
A perfectly balanced, complex, super-rich and pure wine full of sensuality, crafted with passion and ageworthiness by Smith Haut Lafitte
In stock (can be backordered)
Top Rated, Women in Wine
Bordeaux Blend, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Other Varietals
Bordeaux Chateaux, Smith Haut-Lafitte
Indulgence, Icon & Invest
Bordeaux, Bordeaux – Left Bank
|Critics Top Rating
Château Smith-Haut-Lafite has been transformed during the last decade from being a perennial underachiever to being one of the leading estates in the Graves region.
For many years it was owned by the Bordeaux négociant Eschenauer – in 1990 it was bought by former Olympic skiing champion, Daniel Cathiard. He cut down on the amount of chemicals and herbicides used in the vineyards, and fully modernised the winemaking facilities. The proportion of new oak barrels used in the maturation process was increased and a trio of eminent oenologists (including the ubiquitous Michel Rolland) were hired as consultants.
The 55 hectares of vineyards are located on a gravel ridge to the east of Château Haut-Bailly.
Blend – 55 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 40 % Merlot, 4 % Cabernet Franc, 1 % Petit Verdot
Winemaking – Whole uncrushed grape berries fermented in small oak vats at 28°C and extraction with manual pigeage (punching down the cap).
Ageing – Aged in barrel on the lees for 18 months (60% new barrels, made at the estate’s own cooperage) and only racked once. Duration of ageing was adjusted to each wine.
Average age of the vines – 38
Château Smith Haut Lafitte Red 2012 offers a beautiful dark bright red colour with blue hue. The already expressive nose reveals very fresh notes of red fruits (strawberry, cherry) with a hint of smoke. Once aerated, the nose complexity appears with delicate notes of spices (star anise, liquorice, cinnamon), of red fruits as well as beautiful and elegant flower notes. Then the nose stretches out with terroir aromas of flint stone and fireplace. The attack in mouth is fresh and balanced with a fleshy and unctuous texture. The wine is a subtle balance between maturity and freshness: the maturity from the concentration, the impressive unctuosity and sugarity and the beautiful structure of long and classy tannins; the freshness from the tension, the dynamism and the aroma sparkle. The whole defines very well this wine, already reachable, fresh, harmonious and very elegant. This long mouth gives way to a fresh very bordelaise finale, a red fruit explosion. The aromatic is very close to that of the nose, characterised by the freshness with crunchy red fruits, spices notes of liquorice, dry herbs and empyreumatic notes of fireplace and flint stone.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate – 95 points
The opaque bluish-purple 2012 Smith Haut Lafite offers up notes of licorice, graphite, blueberry and blackberry fruit, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, stunningly ripe, velvety tannins and a long, long finish. This is another sensational effort from the Cathiards that is perfectly balanced, complex, super-rich and pure. Drink it over the next 20-25 years. Drink 2015-2040. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (218), April 2015
James Suckling – 94 points
This is very deep and sensual for the vintage with blackberry, tobacco, chocolate, coffee and spice character. Full body, super-integrated tannins and a long, long finish. Superb for the vintage. Give it three or four years to come around but already gorgeous. James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2015
Vinous – 95 points
A dark, sensual wine, the 2012 Smith Haut Lafitte boasts marvelous depth and textural richness. Dark red stone fruits, leather, smoke, tobacco, gravel and herbs are laced together in an expansive wine endowed with terrific purity. The tannins are going to need at least a few years to soften, but there is clearly quite a bit to look forward to. Drink 2022-2042. Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, January 2016
Tim Atkin – 94 points
As it did in 2011, the increasingly impressive red from this top Pessac-Léognan property outperformed the more famous white. This is a serious yet very stylish red, combining perfume with medium weight fruit, smoky oak with nuanced, refined tannins. Long and complex with notes of violets, graphite and cassis. Drink: 2020-35