CHÂTEAU SMITH HAUT LAFITTE BLANC

2020 Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

EN PRIMEUR

Market Insight: There's a big question over Smith Haut's 2019. Its best score ever from Martin and one which put it in the upper echelons from Parker, and yet the price has slipped back by £15. This might well be a short term vs long term trend, as we remain optimistic that the masses will develop and awareness of just how much wine you get for your money here, but even benchmarks for the perfect 2009 don't fill me with confidence.

Tasting note: 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sémillon, 5% Sauvignon Gris. Fabulously ripe, rich nose of tropical fruits, oak (50% new) and sweet spice. There's a lovely depth of fruit, spice & phenolics on the palate, which is perfectly balanced with tangy acidity. This was very much the standout from the whites we tasted. Delicious and very moreish, even now. It will be interesting to see how this develops but it's so good already. Highly recommended.
Rating: 94 L&S (May 2021)

In Bond

75cl bottles (wood case of 6)

* This is a pre-shipment/primeur offer. All orders are accepted under the TERMS of this offer which differ from the terms of the rest of the site.

The 2020 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc is compelling. Soft, silky and caressing, the 2020 is all charm and seduction. Ripe pear, apricot, white flowers, mint and a touch of new oak are all deftly woven together. Best of all, the 2020 will drink well pretty much upon release. It's a gorgeous wine in the making. Drinking range: 2023 - 2035 Rating: 93-95 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Jun 2021)

The 2020 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc was cropped at 29hl/ha and aged in 60% new oak barrels. It takes its time to unfurl on the nose, toying with the olfactory senses before revealing attractive honeysuckle, yellow flowers, jasmine, melon and very subtle chamomile scents, gaining intensity with aeration. The palate is very well balanced with an intense, concentrated opening, a little more viscous in texture than the Le Petit Haut Lafitte, deeper and a touch spicier. Veins of lemongrass and stem ginger appear toward the finish. This should drink well for 15–20 years. One of the best dry whites of the vintage. Drinking range: 2023 - 2040 Rating: 92-94 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2021)

Full bottle 1,355 g. Cask sample taken 22 April. 90% very ripe Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sémillon, 5% Sauvignon Gris. Harvest started 20 August but only ever until 11 am. Then they stopped to wait for acid levels to drop a little. Plot-by-plot picking. 45 parcels in 11 ha. 50% new oak. Pioneer of biodynamics and sustainability in Bordeaux. Hugely seductive nose as usual. None of the obvious skinniness of Sauvignon Blanc. This is rich yet tangy on the nose and tastes as though it has quite a portion of Sémillon in the blend. Lanolin richness on the nose. Some richness on palate entry gives way to really fantastic vibrancy on the palate. Very much in the house style and a real triumph. Hint of mint. Already pretty gorgeous. Long. Drinking range: 2022 - 2032 Rating: 17.5 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2021)

This is outstanding, with tremendous depth and broad swathes of citrus, almond, brioche and pineapple husk from start to finish and while this is a full-framed wine it is also one with epic balance from start to finish. The control and delivery of oak on display here is of the highest order and this wine can sit alongside any other from Bordeaux and most of the top candidates from Burgundy, too, such is its class. The acid and tension here are both thrilling and it will no doubt age extremely well, too. Rating: 19+/20 Matthew Jukes www.matthewjukes.com (Apr 2021)

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).

Please make sure that you have read the terms of this offer which are different from those on the main website. If you are unclear as to what is involved in primeur purchases please do contact our private client team via email or on 0207 221 1982.

Ordering

Prices are all in bond by the case size stated.

Pre-Orders are a firm commitment to buy wines on release, as long as the release price sits within the upper and lower price bands set by you on the pre-order form. Pre-orders will be fulfilled subject to availability but providing this firm commitment to buy effectively gives you priority and is a good idea for the most desirable wines.

Wines listed on the website can be ordered in the usual way via the website wishlist order form. You can also send orders directly to our private client team via email. Please note that, for the most sought after wines, priority will be given to those who ordered the same wines last year and to those that have pre-ordered.

Confirmation

All orders will be confirmed by email and are binding unless written cancellation is received within seven days of email confirmation. Pre-orders are not binding if the release price is above your upper price band.

Invoices are all raised at the in bond price (excluding any duty and VAT) which will become payable at the prevailing rates when the wines arrive in the UK, should you wish to take duty paid delivery.

Payment is required on sight of invoice, by cash, cheque, debit card or bank transfer. We regret we cannot accept credit cards for en primeur orders. We reserve the right to apply a dunning charge of 2% per month on invoices unpaid after 30 days.

Delivery

  • Shipment to our bond (at LCB Creek Road) and insurance are included in the in bond price.
  • Delivery is free to Lea and Sandeman / Elephant storage accounts, both duty paid and in bond.
  • Other deliveries (In Bond and Duty Paid) are also free subject to a minimum order from the offer of £500. Orders below this total will be charged an administration and handling fee of £16.50+ VAT when invoices are issued. We will group deliveries and this is a charge for your entire purchases, not a per-case charge.
  • Delivery of 2020 Bordeaux bought en primeur is expected during 2023. Delivery dates may vary as wines are shipped from Bordeaux at different times.
  • We do not anticipate any problems but please be aware that delays to delivery may occur should Britain's possible departure from the European Union result in additional border customs checks or other regulatory requirements. Any additional or unforeseen duties, tariffs, charges or other financial liabilities relating to 'Brexit' must be due to the customer and will be invoiced as required.

Practical notes - how it works

We start a sale in each customer's name and add all their primeur orders to one sale which is invoiced at the end of the campaign (or when the customer wishes). Immediate payment of invoices is then required by cash, cheque, debit card or bank transfer. We and our customers find that having a single invoice for the vintage is the simpler option but please note that confirmed orders are still binding even if the final invoice has not yet been issued.

Please specify on your wishlist order form where you would like the wines shipped on arrival in the UK. If this is to a third-party bonded warehouse, please specify the relevant account details. If the wines are required duty-paid we will issue a second invoice for duty and VAT at the prevailing rate when the wines are available for delivery.

Half-bottles, Magnums and larger bottles.

One of the additional advantages of buying en primeur is being able to order the wine in the format you want. While most of our listings are for 75cl bottles, we can source wines in any format if offered by the Château. Please note that format requests cannot be changed once wines have been invoiced. Additional charges for special formats do apply and are as follows:-

  • +£20 per case of 24 half-bottles
  • +£10 per case of 6 Magnums (2 bottles equivalent, 1.5 litres each)
  • +£35 per individually boxed Double Magnum (4 bottles equivalent, 3 litres)
  • +£50 per individually boxed Imperial (8 bottles equivalent, 6 litres) for Salmanazars, Balthazars, Nebuchadnezzars and Melchiors please enquire for availability and price.

Storage Options:

Wines bought en primeur won't arrive in the UK until 2023. If you do not wish to take home delivery at that point, you may wish to consider where you would like the wines shipped. Lea & Sandeman offers duty paid and in bond storage through a dedicated storage company called Elephant Storage. For more details on the terms and fees associated with storage please go to our Storage Homepage or contact our private client team for more information.