Le Thil is a rather lovely estate which neighbours Smith Haut Lafitte. The Cathiards (of Smith) bought the Château and part of the vineyard four years ago. This vintage is 100% Merlot, and will spend 12 months in barrel, with 30% new wood. Florence Cathiard describes this as 'the Pomerol of Pessac-Leognan'. Fresh and very attractive supple and juicy wine. Good volume in the middle and a suave very fine-tannined fruit-filled finish. A production of only 6-800 cases a year. Good Value. Drinking range: 2020 - 2032 Rating: 90-92 L&S (Apr 2017)
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Located just across the street from Smith Haut Lafitte (the same team makes it), the 2016 Château Le Thil comes from more clay and limestone soils and is all Merlot. This medium to full-bodied effort offers a fresh, seamless, elegant character as well as beautiful fruit, notes of leafy herbs and earth, light tannins, and a balanced mouthfeel. It’s an outstanding Graves to drink over the coming 10-15 years. Drinking range: 2019 - 2034 Rating: 90 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (Feb 2019)
The 2016 Le Thil, 100% Merlot, is absolutely delicious. Licorice, spice, new leather and silky, sweet tannins give the wine its voluptuous, soft curves and remarkable immediacy. There is lovely depth and richness to the succulent, boldly sketched dark fruit. This is another terrific, modestly priced wine from Daniel and Florence Cathiard. Rating: 89-92 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Jun 2017)
The 2016 Chateau le Thil (Comte Clary), one of the properties owned by Daniel and Florence Cathiard of Smith Haut Lafittte, is 100% Merlot this year since the Cabernet Sauvignon was pulled up and replaced with Cabernet Franc a couple of years ago. The nose is clean and pure, not powerful, with scents of boysenberry jam and crushed strawberry. The palate is medium-bodied with an attractive minerally opening, a little masculine and aloof, but nicely balanced and it builds in the mouth towards quite an elegant mulberry and black plum finish. Certainly the more clayey soils benefit this 2016 compared to the 2016 Cantelys grown on gravel soils, as it has more body and more length. Drink it over the next six or seven years. Drinking range: 2019 - 2027 Rating: 89-91 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Jun 2017)
Château Le Thil
A very pretty little Château set in parkland, with 11 hectares of vines attached, on the top and south-facing slope of a clay-limestone hillock. The clay soil has prompted the planting of a high proportion of Merlot, and Florence Cathiard calls this 'the Pomerol of Pessac-Leognan'. The Cathiards of Smith Haut Lafitte bought the property in 2012, reuniting it with Smith, as it has previously been under the same ownership in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the two Châteaux were linked by a long drive. Viticulture is done in the same way as at Smith, using the Cathiards system of 'bio-precision'. This is a wine at a modest price which benefits from all the expertise of its great neighbour, and is excellent value.
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