May, June and July were very dry. 2 days of rain in August just allowed the vines to keep going. One half day of rain during the whole of the harvest period, and that was it. 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, the rest split equally between Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The Cabernet Franc here was harvested last, so after the little rain, and so not quite as special is it might have been. Very dark colour, dark rich fruit, bright and supple. This has some real life to it - there's energy here. Finish is tannic but still quite 'real' and still bright and vibrant. Excellent. They are intruducing biodynamics here and have converted a proportion already. Rating: 93-94 L&S (Apr 2016)
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Or, check the RELATED PRODUCTS below for different vintages or wines of a similar style.
Right up there with the best Left Bank reds in 2015, this is the latest in a line of impressive releases from Smith-Haut-Lafitte. Grassy, aromatic and herbal, with blueberry and blackcurrant sweetness, tangy acidity and a core of serious, well integrated tannin embellished by stylish, perfumed oak. Drinking range: 2025 - 2035 Rating: 96 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com(May 2016)
New black label to celebrate the Cathiards' anniversary and that of the property. Very dark. Comfortable base and lots of perfume. Round and sweet. Tense and tight. An excitingly taut package that promises well. Drinking range: 2024 - 2040 Rating: 18 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com(Apr 2016)
63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot. Organic. A wonderful wine of great impact and rich, grippy tannins but the density imperceptibly lightens towards the finish so you are left with the impression of freshness even though the liquorice, black cherry and cassis flavour persists. Smith Haut Lafitte has clearly stopped chasing the ripest fruit, instead going for the most aromatic, at perfect phenolic maturity. 3.7pH, 65% new oak. Drinking range: 2025 - 2040 Rating: 96 Jane Anson, Decanter(Apr 2016)
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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