|Grapes||Sauv Blanc, Sémillon|
The 2014 Smith Haut-Lafitte Blanc has a lively, crisp bouquet with mineral-driven citrus fruit, fine chalk and flint-like scents, dare I say almost Chablis-cum-Bordeaux! The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, quite vibrant with good depth although the second half is missing the tension that I hope for, certainly what those splendid aromatics deserve. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. Drinking range: 2019 - 2026 Rating: 93 Neal Martin, vinous.com (Mar 2018)
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|Chelsea||020 7244 0522|
|Kensington||020 7221 1982|
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The Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc 2014 is a blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Sémillon matured in 50% new oak. It has a more complex bouquet compared to the Cantelys Blanc '14 with fresh citrus lemon, grapefruit and pearskin scents, the Sémillon influencing the aromatics more than its percentage blend implies. The palate is well balanced with a crisp grapefruit and nectarine opening. The acidity here lends great tension to this wine, the Sémillon lending a lovely waxiness on the finish. This is well worth seeking out. Drinking range: 2018 - 2030 Rating: 90-92 Neal Martin, www.robertparker.com (Apr 2015)
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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