Bordeaux Chateaux, Smith Haut-Lafitte

Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc, Pessac Leognan 2019

R950

A Sauvignon blanc led blend, the wine combines aromatic richness with freshness and seductive body enticed by minerality

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Description

Description

 

Additional information

Additional information

Grape Variety

Bordeaux Blend, Other Varietals, Sauvignon Blanc

Producer

Bordeaux Chateaux, Smith Haut-Lafitte

Product Type

White Wine

Vintage

2019

Wine Group

Boutique, Prestige

Wine Occasion

Formal Entertainment, Indulgence

Wine Region

Bordeaux, Bordeaux – Left Bank

Critics Top Rating

95 points

Curated Selection

Top Rated, Second Wines, Women in Wine

Story

Story

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.

Le Petit is the Second wine of Smith Haut Lafitte, made from younger vines.

Specifications

Specifications

Created during the blending process of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Le Petit Haut Lafitte is vinified and aged with the same care as the Grand Vin. From the vineyard to the cellar, all the production techniques are identical.

Blend – 80 % Sauvignon blanc, 20 % Semillon

Winemaking –  grapes are hand-picked into small crates and pressed in an oxygen-free environment (to preserve the aromatic potential of the berries) and fermentation takes place in French oak barrels (50% new oak) after a cold settling of the juices.

Ageing – 10 months on the lees with bâtonnagein barrels (50% new oak) made at the Chateau onsite cooperage.

Tasting Notes

Tasting Notes

This wine has a clear yellow and brilliant color. The nose is open and expresses complex notes of citrus and yellow fruit (apricot). We find the influence of the two varietals by the freshness and the dynamics of Sauvignon Blancs associated with the roundness of Semillon. The palate is both tense and voluptuous with a good length on fresh citrus, yellow flowers, yellow fruit and a little smoke characteristic of our terroir made of «Graves gunzienne».

Critic Ratings

Critic Ratings

James Suckling – 94-95 Points

A bright, salty white with dried-apple, lemon and hot-stone character. It’s full-bodied, yet vivid and tight with vibrant energy at the end.

Wine Enthusiast – 91-93 points

Barrel Sample. As one of the two second wines from this organic estate, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates this wine. It has structured black currant fruits as well as a beautiful pure line of acidity. The structure, while there, is open and integrated, meaning the wine will age well over the medium-term.


Robert Parker – 91-93 points

A blend built around 20% Sémillon and rather riper Sauvignon Blanc, the 2019 Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc exhibits aromas of crisp stone fruit, lemongrass, pastry cream and smoke, followed by a medium to full-bodied, textural and fleshy palate that’s layered and lively, concluding with chalky grip. It’s a more serious, gastronomic wine than the entirely Sauvignon Les Hauts de Smith Blanc.

Certified organic with the 2019 vintage, this year marks a waypoint—rather than a stopping point—in Smith Haut Lafitte’s agronomic journey. The Cathiard family banished herbicides at this address in 1991, radically reducing chemical treatments and suffering the consequences for several years in the form of much diminished yields (today, happily, materiel and techniques are more sophisticated). In addition to organic methods, cover crops have been deployed on the vineyard’s central blocks and western band, where soils are less well drained. Hedges have been planted to encourage biodiversity, and ultraviolet treatments are being trialed as an alternative to copper sulfate. In addition to such initiatives, the technical team is adapting to a warmer climate: that means picking a touch earlier, certainly, but more importantly, adapting in the vineyards, with somewhat lower canopies and an end to deleafing to retain fresh, vibrant flavors. Winemaking, too, is a little gentler: cool but protracted macerations, with periodic punch-downs, for reds and whole-cluster pressing with an inerted press for whites. This has brought new structural elegance and energy to the estate’s wines. It surely helps that as much as possible is done in-house: since 1995, the Cathiards have their own nursery for their own massale selections, in partnership with Bérillon, and barrels are made in the château’s own on-site cooperage too, favoring the forests of Tronçais and Jupilles for reds, Loches (which brings tension) for whites. All this is symptomatic of the attention to detail and seriousness that the Cathiards, and their technical director Fabien Teitgen, have brought to this estate; and the result, in 2019, is one of the finest wines they’ve produced to date.

 

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