Le Petit Haut Lafitte Red, Pessac Leognan 2017
Second wine of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, yet worthy of praise in its own right. Precise, focused and beautifully balanced
Top Rated, Bestsellers, Second Wines, Winter Warmers, Women in Wine
Bordeaux Blend, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Other Varietals
Bordeaux Chateaux, Smith Haut-Lafitte
Bordeaux, Bordeaux – Left Bank
|Critics Top Rating
Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte 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 modernized 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 Haut Lafitte is the Second wine, made from younger vines.
Blend – 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot
Winemaking – Created during the blending process of the Grand vin, the winemaking is identical and made from younger vines. Slow fermentation in Oak barrels.
Ageing – For 14 months in French oak barrels of which 20% new, and all made on the estate
A dark deep and dense red color, leading to an expressive nose of elegant red and black fruits of cherry, raspberry, blackcurrant with aromatic herbs notes. The palate is rich and concentrated, with good acidity and smooth tannins.
Palate is aromatic and delicate with fresh fruit, Pierre a fusil, dry herb and lovely floral touch.
Wine Enthusiast – 92 points
With a focus on Cabernet Sauvignon, this second wine of Smith Haut Lafitte is dense, laden with tannins and ripe berry flavors. Structured and complex, the wine is likely to age, the tannins filling out to give future richness. Drink the wine from 2022.
James Suckling – 92 points
Robert Parker – 90 points
Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Le Petit Haut Lafitte delivers a slightly broody nose of tar, new leather and truffles over an emerging core of warm plums, mulberries and boysenberries with a touch of anise. Medium-bodied, the palate offers loads of black cherries and savory hints with a plush frame and earthy finish.
Decanter – 90 points
This is beautifully constructed throughout, with fresh, bright acidity giving form and shape to the palate, showing damson fruit and a layer of rich, creamy tannins beneath. There’s plenty to work with here: good texture and attractive black fruits – but once again, the austerity is striking and the fruit character has tightness around the middle that suggests a day or two longer on the vine would have been helpful. 20% new oak. 15% frost affected. From young vines.