CHÂTEAU SMITH HAUT LAFITTE
2010 Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan
Fairly dramatic colour - very deep but bright-edged crimson to black. Very ripe oaky nose, slightly wood-polish scented. Plush and rich. Very soft cushiony feel. Fine tannins build but it remains cool. At the limits of a very modern style. Very tannic finish will require at least ten years to soften. Rating: 93 L&S (Apr 2011)
*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
A qualitative home run, right up there with the profound 2005 and more opulent 2009, Smith-Haut-Lafitte has turned in a remarkable performance in this vintage, but then again, so have many other chateaux. A blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, the wine has an inky/purple color and an extraordinary nose of graphite, blackberries, cassis, licorice, smoke, and camphor. The unbelievable skyscraper-like texture, stunning purity, and formidable intensity make for a remarkably rich, long, full-bodied wine that is classic Graves, but at the same time a staggering 2010. 2015-2035+ Rating: 95-97 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com (May 2011)
With a pH of 3.62, the Grand Vin is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, the bouquet is very intense and focused, stricter than the 2009 last year with blackberry, a touch of cassis and a hint of boysenberry. Fine delineation, the mineralité beginning to emerge after one minute in the glass. One is immediately struck by the almost citrus-like freshness on the entry, tight at first but then fanning out beautifully across the mouth towards the wonderfully structured finish that has more tension than it knows what to do with. Very persistent, very long. Rating: 93-95 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Apr 2011)
Rich tobacco leaf cassis fruit, superb balance of natural vineyard concentration and elegance, already showing fragrance and charm, a notable success for this château. Drink 2015-30. Rating: ****18 Steven Spurrier (Apr 2011)
Château Smith Haut Lafitte
Owned by the Cathiard family since 1990, Smith Haut Lafitte has a history that extends back to 1365. Originally owned by the Bosq Family, it was bought by Scotsman George Smith in the eighteenth century, and he gave it his name. He also built the manor house, and shipped the wine back to England.
In 1842, it passed, from his mother, to a M. Duffour-Dubergier, who was mayor of Bordeaux. His work raised the quality level and it was classified Grand Cru in the 1855 classification. The 20th century was mostly about Louis Eschenauer and his company, which distibuted the wines and eventually bought the property in 1958, investing over the time and building the barrel cellar.
The Cathiards fell in love with Smith in 1990, and have lavished care and considerable investment on it since then. Daniel Cathiard was a former ski champion, a member of the famous French Olympic team that included Jean-Claude Killy, and it was at that time that he met his wife Florence. Both have impressive track records of running businesses. Daniel built up the small chain of supermarkets that he inherited, and added a chain of sports shops, the group employing nine thousand people. Florence worked with him and also ran her own advertising company, ending up in a senior position in the McCann group. In 1990 they sold all their business interests to concentrate on Smith, where they have lived since. One of their daughters runs the Caudalie beauty products company (products based on the polyphenols extracted from grape pips), and the other two boutique hotels, including the 'Sources de Caudalie', next to Smith.
The Cathiards have since bought Château Cantelys in Martillac, and also, in 2012, part of the vineyard of Château Le Thil, as well as the house and the park. More recently they have been involved in the consortium which bought Château Bearegard (Pomerol) and Château Bastor Lamontagne (Sauternes).
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