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2017 Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

Colour White
Origin France, Bordeaux
Village Pessac-Léognan
Classification Cru Classé

The 2017 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc was deprived of a hectare parcel of 80-year old Sauvignon that was pulled up last year. It has a focused bouquet with mineral-driven citrus fruit, yellow plum and honeysuckle, the 50% new oak nicely integrated. The palate is medium-bodied with taut citrus fruit laced with pineapple and tangerine. There is a subtle tropical undercurrent to this Smith Haut-Lafite Blanc. It fans out generously towards the finish with a long and satisfying, lightly honeyed finish. This is a very fine white Smith Haut-Lafitte, already surfeit with pedigree that should age with style and panache. Drinking range: 2021 - 2035 Rating: 92-94 Neal Martin, (May 2018)

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The 2017 Les Hauts de Smith Blanc is 100% Sauvignon Blanc and offers up intense notions of lemon curd, white peaches and grapefruit with touches of mandarin peel, jasmine and lime zest. The palate is medium-bodied and incredibly elegant yet super zippy in the mouth, with a lively line cutting through the intense citrus flavors, finishing long and zesty. Rating: 90-92 Lisa Perrotti-Brown, 2018)

A sophisticated, grown up white with the most beautifully placed savoury white peach flesh, shadowed by lime and tea leaves, and enclosed by slate. The fresh tension stands head and shoulders above many wines in this vintage. It's full of personality, zip and complexity, and is clearly going to age beautifully. Drinking range: 2022 - 2034 Rating: 96 Jane Anson, Decanter(Apr 2018)

The Grand Vin 2017 Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte Blanc is a beauty that offers loads of clean, vibrant, pure fruit. Possessing medium-bodied richness, lots of salty minerality, and classic notes of lychee, lime, and exotic citrus, it has the freshness and purity of the vintage, and backs it up with rock solid depth and weight. Rating: 92-94 Jeb Dunnuck, 2018)

This shows serious density and beauty with fantastic complexity and dimension. Full-bodied yet so fresh and beautiful. Layered and tight at the same time. Exciting to follow this one. Rating: 96-97 James Suckling, 2018)

Inviting, creamy, cedary aroma. Oak more evident than on most of the Pessacs tasted so far this morning in the UGC primeurs line-up – almost a note of honey – but perfectly balanced. Rich, mealy and full of ripe pear and a hint of orange. Impressive depth, harmony and persistence. Incredibly moreish even while embryonic. Drinking range: 2020 - 2027 Rating: 17.5 Julia Harding MW, 2018)

Tight, but with a lot to like, from the yellow apple, white peach and star fruit core to the extra brioche, straw, honeysuckle and verbena nuances that weave throughout. Shows weight and drive on the finish. A beauty. Rating: 94-97 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator(Apr 2018)

The blend here is 90% Sauvignon Blanc with 5% each Sauvignon Gris and Semillon. The fruit was picked from August 24th onwards, ending on September 9th. The process of picking was gentle, picking a few parcels each morning, after which the fruit was pressed, with fermentation in barrel. The overall yield was 36 hl/ha, and this wine takes half the crop. The nose presents a very tropical profile, with scents of peach, passion fruit and even mango, wrapped in the polished perfume of oak fermentation. The palate has a honeyed, polished and plush concentration, with a fine grip and a fabulous array of ripe fruits. This is long, grippy and imbued with oak, overall an impressive and yet focused style. Rating: 92-94 Chris Kissack, 2018)

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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