2023 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

2023 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

Product: 20238122816
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2023 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

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Description

Distinctive as ever, right at the top of what Pessac Léognan Blanc can deliver. Structured, fleshy white peach and pear, waves of salted cracker and sage, creamy texture, great length, just a brilliant wine. A buy.

Drink 2025 - 2038

Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux (April 2024)

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson98/100

Distinctive as ever, right at the top of what Pessac Léognan Blanc can deliver. Structured, fleshy white peach and pear, waves of salted cracker and sage, creamy texture, great length, just a brilliant wine. A buy.

Drink 2025 - 2038

Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux (April 2024)

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Neal Martin, Vinous95-97/100

The 2023 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc was picked from August 23 to September 9 at 36hL/ha and matured in 50% new oak. It has a reticent bouquet at first, requiring a few swirls of the glass to reveal touches of orange pith, peach skin, wild fennel and light pressed white flower scents. The palate is very well balanced with a lovely creamy texture, counterbalanced by the taut line of acidity. Very poised and focused, it's somehow almost Corton-Charlemagne-inspired on the finish (perhaps due to the umami). This is a seriously fine white Pessac-Léognan.

Drink 2028 - 2048

Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Antonio Galloni, Vinous94-96/100

The 2023 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc is quite the extrovert. Apricot, passion fruit, mint, tangerine peel and pineapple all soar out of the glass. Medium in body, with gorgeous texture, the 2023 is quite showy. I imagine it will drink well with minimal cellaring.

Drink 2026 - 2037

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW94-96/100

A blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Semillon, and 5% Sauvignon Gris, the white 2023 Smith Haut Lafitte is aging in 50% new oak. After a swirl or two, it prances out with gregarious notes of white peaches, fresh pineapple, and green mangoes, opening out to underlying hints of lime blossoms, wet slate, and fresh ginger. The medium-bodied palate is satiny and vivacious, with a racy backbone and a long, exotic fruit-laced finish. Yum!

Drink 2027 - 2034

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent (May 2024)

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Jancis Robinson MW17.5/20

90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sémillon and 5% Sauvignon Gris. 36 hl/ha. Cask sample.

Initially discreet then opens to reveal floral, citrus and vanilla notes. Large on attack with plenty of succulent fruit, then drive and persistence on the finish. An extra edge of ripeness compared with many but freshness as well. Very much in the house style.

Drink 2025 - 2032

James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 2024)

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Wine Advocate94-96/100

Aromas of white fruits, crisp orchard fruits, spices, smoke, spring flowers and pear introduce the 2023 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, a medium to full-bodied, layered and textured wine with a fleshy core of fruit and racy acids, concluding with a mineral, fresh and long finish highlighted by delicate notes of thyme and garrigue. Comprising 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sémillon and 5% Sauvignon Gris and matured in 50% new oak, this blend is among the finest white wines produced at this address.

Drink 2025 - 2045

Yohan Castaing, Wine Advocate (April 2024)

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James Suckling97-98/100

Another exceptional vintage for Smith-Haut-Lafite Blanc. It’s so complex and structured, offering a palate that feels similar to the texture of a red wine with a velvety tannin structure. There’s a lot going on here. Spice, crushed seashell and citrus blossom. Salty, too. Weightless and so long. 90% sauvignon blanc, 5% sauvignon gris and 5% semillon.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2024)

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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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Sauvignon Blanc & Sémillon

Sauvignon 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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