2020 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

2020 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

Product: 20208122816
 
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2020 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

Description

Sauvignon Blanc 90%, Sémillon 5%, Sauvignon Gris 5%

This is beautifully expressive. It’s somehow loose-limbed and open-textured; unctuous, heady and creamy; and zesty. It’s focused on lime flower and warmer notes of ripe peach and apricot. These components reflect the options open to the château in its picking regime: some plots give tension, others body and power. The wine’s very expressive character can likely be attribute to the estate’s organic and biodynamic policies, for which they have been pioneers in the region.

Drink 2023-2032

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson96/100
Antonio Galloni, Vinous93-95/100
Neal Martin, Vinous92-94/100
Wine Advocate94-96+/100
Jancis Robinson MW17.5/20
James Suckling95-96/100
Jane Anson96/100
This brings together depth and power, concentrated and hugely saline right from the start. Rich in texture, with layers of stone fruits from nectarines to white peaches, with a steely edge that squeezes through the fruit, holds interest and adds persistency. A delicious white wine with the point of bitterness on the finish adding another dimension. Average yields 29hl/ha for the whites. 50% new oak. Harvest started August 20, one of earliest on record, through to September 9th. Certified organic (AB) as of 2019 in the vineyard.

Drink from 2022 to 2036

Jane Anson, Decanter (April 2021) Read more
Antonio Galloni, Vinous93-95/100
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.

Drink from 2023 to 2035

Antonio Galloni, Vinous (June 2021) Read more
Neal Martin, Vinous92-94/100
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.

Drink from 2023 to 2040

Neal Martin, Vinous (May 2021) Read more
Wine Advocate94-96+/100
The 2020 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc is 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Sémillon. It fermented with indigenous yeasts in French oak, 50% new, within which it will age for 12 months on lees with bâtonnage before spending a further two to three months in tank. It prances out of the glass with vivacious notes of lime blossoms, Golden Delicious apples and green mango, plus hints of coriander seed, shaved ginger and wet pebbles. The medium-bodied palate possesses lovely harmony even at this nascent stage, featuring bright apple and citrus flavors with soft acidity and a chalky finish.

Drink 2025 - 2037

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (May 2021) Read more
Jancis Robinson MW17.5/20
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.

Drink 2023 - 2032

Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com (April 2021) Read more
James Suckling95-96/100
A tight, phenolic white with light tannins that give the wine form and balance. It’s full-bodied and lightly chewy with dried apple, lemon and peach. Minerally and chewy. Flavorful. From organic grapes. 90 sauvignon blanc, 5% sauvignon gris and 5% semillon.

James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (April 2021) Read more

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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Sauv.Blanc & Sémillon

Sauv.Blanc & Sémillon

The blend used for White Graves and Sauternes and rarely encountered outside France. In the great dry whites of Graves, Sauvignon Blanc tends to predominate in the blend, although properties such as Smith Haut Lafite use 100% Sauvignon Blanc while others such as Laville Haut Brion have as much as 60% Sémillon in their final blends. Sauvignon Blanc wines can lose their freshness and fruit after a couple of years in bottle - if blended with Sémillon, then the latter bolsters the wine when the initial fruit from the Sauvignon fades. Ultimately Sauvignon Blanc gives the wine its aroma and raciness while Sémillon gives it backbone and longevity.

In Sauternes, Sémillon is dominant, with Sauvignon Blanc playing a supporting role - it is generally harvested about 10 days before Sémillon and the botrytis concentrates its sweetness and dampens Sauvignon Blanc`s naturally pungent aroma. It contributes acidity, zip and freshness to Sauternes and is an important component of the blend.

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