2011 Ch. Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge, Pessac Léognan, Bordeaux

2011 Ch. Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge, Pessac Léognan, Bordeaux

Product: 20118011879
2011 Ch. Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge, Pessac Léognan, Bordeaux

Description

A property whose star has really risen in recent years, and a tribute to the unstinting efforts made by owners Daniel and Florence Cathiard to fine-tune their wines. The red wine was very carefully vinified at 26 degrees, lower than usual, to ensure that no excessive extraction of bitter tannins took place. The bouquet is of ripe plummy fruit, while the palate shows hints of spice and abundant red fruit but in a framework of finesse and elegance. A wine where the owners have demonstrated great sensitivity towards the conditions of the vintage.
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About this WINE

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte

Château Smith-Haut-Lafite has been transformed during the last decade from being a perennial underachiever to being one of the leading estates in the Graves region.

For many years it was owned by the Bordeaux négociant Eschenauer - in 1990 it was bought by former Olympic skiing champion, Daniel Cathiard. He cut down on the amount of chemicals and herbicides used in the vineyards, and fully modernised the winemaking facilities. The proportion of new oak barrels used in the maturation process was increased and a trio of eminent oenologists (including the ubiquitous Michel Rolland) were hired as consultants.

The 55 hectares of vineyards are located on a gravel ridge to the east of Château Haut-Bailly. The red wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (55%), Merlot (35%) and Cabernet Franc (10%). The grapes are fermented in stainless steel vats and the wine is then matured in oak barrels (50% new) for 15-18 months. The wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.

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Pessac-Leognan

Pessac-Leognan

In 1986 a new communal district was created within Graves, in Bordeaux,  based on the districts of Pessac and Léognan, the first of which lies within the suburbs of the city. Essentially this came about through pressure from Pessac-Léognan vignerons, who wished to disassociate themselves from growers with predominately sandy soils further south in Graves.

Pessac-Léognan has the best soils of the region, very similar to those of the Médoc, although the depth of gravel is more variable, and contains all the classed growths of the region. Some of its great names, including Ch. Haut-Brion, even sit serenely and resolutely in Bordeaux's southern urban sprawl.

The climate is milder than to the north of the city and the harvest can occur up to two weeks earlier. This gives the best wines a heady, rich and almost savoury character, laced with notes of tobacco, spice and leather. Further south, the soil is sandier with more clay, and the wines are lighter, fruity and suitable for earlier drinking.

Recommended Châteaux: Ch. Haut-Brion, Ch. la Mission Haut-Brion, Ch. Pape Clément, Ch Haut-Bailly, Domaine de Chevalier, Ch. Larrivet-Haut-Brion, Ch. Carmes Haut-Brion, Ch. La Garde, Villa Bel-Air.

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Cab.Sauvignon

Cab.Sauvignon

The most famous red wine grape in the world and one of the most widely planted.

It is adaptable to a wide range of soils, although it performs particularly well on well-drained, low-fertile soils. It has small, dusty, black-blue berries with thick skins that produce deeply coloured, full-bodied wines with notable tannins. Its spiritual home is the Médoc and Graves regions of Bordeaux where it thrives on the well-drained gravel-rich soils producing tannic wines with piercing blackcurrant fruits that develop complex cedarwood and cigar box nuances when fully mature.

The grape is widely planted in California where Cabernet Sauvignon based wines are distinguished by their rich mixture of cassis, mint, eucalyptus and vanilla oak. It is planted across Australia and with particular success in Coonawarra where it is suited to the famed Terra Rossa soil. In Italy barrique aged Cabernet Sauvignon is a key component in Super Tuscans such as Tignanello and Sassicaia, either on its own or as part of a blend with Sangiovese.

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Reviews

Customer reviews

The Wine Advocate94+/100
Wine Spectator 92-95/100

Critic reviews

The Wine Advocate94+/100
The grand vin, the 2011 Smith-Haut-Lafitte is another great successes (and thats saying something after the remarkable duo of 2009 and 2010 as well as the brilliant 2008). This wine exhibits a dense purple color along with a big, sweet nose of creme de cassis, mulberries, licorice and subtle background oak. Full-bodied with silky tannins, nicely integrated acidity, wood and alcohol, a multilayered mouthfeel, and a finish that lasts 45 seconds, this brilliant wine should drink well for 15-20 years.
Robert M. Parker, Jr. - 30/04/2014 Read more
Wine Spectator 92-95/100
Offers pure, driven plum, cassis and black cherry notes inlaid with graphite and roasted wood spice. Dense without being overextracted. Very sleek. Rock-solid.
Wine Spectator's 2011 Top-Scoring Red Bordeaux
(James Molesworth, Wine Spectator, April 5, 2012) Read more