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The 2015 Smith Haut-Lafitte has a detailed and focused bouquet with blackberry, cedar and freshly rolled tobacco aromas, unfurling with each swirl of the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannin, taut and crisp with cedar and graphite. Unashamedly classic in style, it has impressive depth and good grip on the finish. This is destined to give a lot of pleasure. Tasted blind at the Southwold 2015 Bordeaux tasting.
The 2015 Smith Haut Lafitte has a lush and generous bouquet with black cherries, raspberry and rose petal scents, those shucked oyster shells that I noticed out of barrel surfacing with aeration. There is wonderful purity here and it blossoms with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with a gentle grip on the entry, layers of red berry fruit, allspice, cedar and tobacco with a structure and insistent finish that suggests it will age over many years. This is a sophisticated young Smith Haut Lafitte, precocious in talent and bound to age with style and class. This is a seriously fine Smith Haut Lafitte that I feel will get better and better with age. One to watch. Anticipated maturity: 2020 - 2045.
The 2015 Smith-Haut-Lafitte is adorned with a special label to celebrate the 650th anniversary of the château and the 25th vintage made under the ownership of Daniel and Florence Cathiard. It is a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, picked between 23 September until 12 October with the Cabernet Franc. Matured in 65% new oak (although technical director Fabien Teitgen mentioned that he could have added more if he felt it would benefit), it has a very intense, blueberry and crème de cassis scented bouquet, a touch more opulent than its peers with hints of freshly shucked oyster shell developing with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannin couched in gorgeous, satin-textured black cherry and cassis fruit, tinged with cedar and pencil shavings. It lingers very long and sensually in the mouth, completing a sophisticated and powerful Smith Haut-Lafitte that should age in splendid fashion.
This vintage is a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, matured in 65% new oak barrels. Medium to deep garnet-purple, the 2015 Smith Haut Lafitte has a totally dazzling nose of exotic spices—star anise, fenugreek and Sichuan pepper—over a core of chocolate-covered cherries, wild blueberries, plum preserves, violets and earthy wafts of truffles, moss, tilled black soil and forest floor. Medium to full-bodied, beautifully balanced and packing a lot of flavor into a relatively modest package, it fills the mouth with spice and herb-laced black and blue fruit layers, supported by very ripe, very finely grained tannins and seamless freshness, finishing with epic length. This is already a show-stopping, heart-pounding beauty, but should also age incredibly! 2022 - 2048
This is a very polished and precise young wine with beautiful depth and intensity. Full and sexy. It shows blueberry and black currant character with walnut and chocolate undertones. The tannins have a lovely texture. Joy to taste.
Explosive and powerful in the glass, the 2015 Smith Haut Lafitte is going to need time to come into its own. Black cherry, gravel, smoke, bittersweet chocolate, leather, licorice and savory herbs effortlessly fill out the wine's ample frame. The 2015 is an especially dark, concentrated Smith Haut Lafitte. Swaths of tannin carry the wine into a huge finish accented by hints of raspberry jam, chocolate, leather and tobacco. Today, the 2015 is more power than finesse. It will be interesting to see how things develop from here. 2025 - 2040
The 2015 Smith Haut Lafitte is superb. Dark, powerful and towering, the 2015 exudes richness and a level of intensity in all directions that is remarkable. This is an especially dark, brooding Grand Vin built on serious depth, intensity and structure, and yet there is more than enough richness in the fruit to balance things out. The extreme heat of the year appears to have baked out some of the aromatic nuance. It will be interesting to see if that dimension opens up. For now, the 2015 is massively shut down. Readers will have to be especially patient, as the 2015 won't be ready to drink for some time. Both en primeur samples I tasted were less expressive than the separate components were when I tasted them from barrel in late January 2016, so I won't be surprised at all if the bottled wine comes in at the top of this range. Tasted two times.
Tasted blind. Spice and fruit and vibrancy. Tea leaves rather than drying finish. Good savour.
Deep crimson. Fragrant and fresh with lots of tannins – far, far more than in the 2017! Just chock-a-block with everything. A wine to hang on to but good and dry with Graves freshness. No one should be disappointed with this anniversary bottling.
New black label to celebrate the Cathiards' anniversary and that of the property. Very dark. Comfortable base and lots of perfume. Round and sweet. Tense and tight. An excitingly taut package that promises well. Drink 2024-2040
Charry oak and plenty of dark fruit on the nose. Rich, powerful and still beautifully balanced between the fruit and the structure. Long, chewy, dark finish. Great promise. (JH) 13%
Daniel and Florence Cathiard transformed this property in the early 1990s and have been making very individual, sexy wines since then which combine flavours of classic earthy Graves with silky and seductive new oak from barrels produced by their in-house cooper. The 67 hectare vineyard is planted with 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot. In 2015 the percentage of Cabernet is a bit higher than normal and there will be a special black label to celebrate 25 years of ownership by the Cathiards. They believe that their 2015 is similar to the 2009 (but with less concentration and high acidity) and also similar to the 2010 but with less power and more finesse. Deep blueish-purple colour with an exotic, ripe nose of blueberry, blackberry and creamy vanilla from new oak. The palate has a mouthfilling texture from structured, yet ripe tannins, giving great volume and a supple texture. Juicy and powerful with layers of black cherry and blackberry fruit. Long, spicy and complex on the finish with real lift from sweet vanilla and cherry blossom. Plush and ripe, this is modern but very well made.
Another wine from the Cathiard family I was able to taste on multiple occasions is the 2015 Smith Haut Lafitte and it’s brilliant stuff readers should snatch up. Offering a huge nose of chocolatey dark fruits, roasted herbs, graphite and flowers, this big, rich, opulent beauty has building tannin, loads of structure and great mid-palate. It will drink nicely for 20+ years. 2018 - 2038
Depth on the nose the palate has brooding richness layers of black fruits. Sweet and ripe in the middle fleshy and supple but there is balance with bilberry under the rich black cherry and chocolate. Sweet and ripe at the back yet the finish is stylish lighter and long.
Right up there with the best Left Bank reds in 2015, this is the latest in a line of impressive
releases from Smith-Haut-Lafitte. Grassy, aromatic and herbal, with blueberry and
blackcurrant sweetness, tangy acidity and a core of serious, well integrated tannin
embellished by stylish, perfumed oak. Drink: 2025-35
Dark and meaty initially, with power and richness, this is tempered by subtle tannins and serious length. The oak is epic
and this heightens the fruit immeasurably. This is a very successful Smith Haut Lafitte and it is a wine which will start to
drink sooner than expected but also live for longer than hoped for, too.