Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac Leognan 2014
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 – 62 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 % Merlot, 6 % Cabernet Franc, 2 % 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 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.
James Suckling – 96 points
A big black-cherry and bitter-chocolate nose leads into a rich, concentrated palate, where the fruit easily holds sway over the powerful, dry tannins. It’s these that drive everything along right through to the assertive, slightly earthy finish; impressive long-term stuff!
Wine Enthusiast – 96 points – Cellar Selection
This is a powerful wine, made to age for a long time, from this estate which is performing in top gear. Complex tannins and dark fruits both make their presence felt. It has weight, ripeness and a dense structure. A great success, it is unlikely to be ready to drink before 2027.
Vinous – 94 points
In 2014 Smith Haut Lafitte produced an exceptionally soft, sexy Grand Vin. Dark cherry, plum, tobacco, licorice, menthol and red-toned fruit are all nicely delineated, while expressive floral notes give the wine a closing flourish of aromatic intensity. The 2014 is quite pretty, if a touch slender. It will drink well with minimal cellaring given its soft contours and supple, inviting personality. The blend is 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.
Wine Spectator – 94 points
This has a generous feel, with ripe fig, boysenberry and blueberry compote fruit flavors that are entwined with alluring roasted apple wood, melted licorice and warm fruitcake notes. The broad, mouthcoating finish has a terrific graphite underpinning to stay honest.
Jeb Dunnuck – 93 points
The 2014 Smith Haut Lafitte shows the elegant style of the vintage, yet the depth of fruit that’s common from this estate. Blackberries, currants, scorched earth, spicy oak and tobacco leaf nuances give way to a medium to full-bodied, beautifully textured 2014 that has ripe tannin and nicely integrated acidity. It has tons of character and is a beautiful, elegant wine to drink over the coming 15 years or so
Wine Advocate – 93 points
The 2014 Smith-Haut-Lafitte has a fragrant mulberry and strawberry scented bouquet with cedar and subtle undergrowth scents emerging with time. There is something almost Musigny-like here (written as a complement incidentally—why not be compared to the greatest Burgundy Grand Cru?). The palate is medium-bodied with a soft and mellow opening. Quite spicy in the mouth with leather-tinged fruit on the open and inviting finish, there is something very approachable about this Smith-Haut-Lafitte, though like the 2014 Pape-Clement, it contains the substance to drink well over 10-15 years.
Jancis Robinson – 17/20
Rich, candied note to the nose – modern and friendly. Black cherry with a barbecue smoke aroma. The wood influence is prominent but not dominant. Finishes with a fine layer of tannin