Smith Haut Lafitte 2008


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Tasting Notes

One of the stars of the vintage, this elegant, smoky wine has hints of barbecue pit intermixed with sweet black currants and cherries. Dark purple and medium to full-bodied, its impressive finesse and wonderful purity make for a surprisingly forward style of Smith-Haut-Lafitte to drink over the next 15 or so years.

Score: 92Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (194), May 2011

The 2008 Smith-Haut-Lafitte, which is somewhat reminiscent of the brilliant 1998, exhibits sweet cassis, tobacco leaf, earth, and barbecue characteristics in its complex aromatics. The wine reveals ripe, supple tannin, medium to full body, gorgeous fruit, impeccable purity, and a luscious texture. It should be relatively approachable in its youth, and last for 25+ years. The final composition was 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, and 7% Cabernet Franc.As I have noted so many times in the past, since the early nineties, Daniel and Florence Cathiard have done a remarkable job resurrecting this once insipidly run estate.

Score: 93/95Robert Parker, (182), April 2009

The 2008 Smith Haut Lafitte is a lovely wine for the vintage, still quite polished on the nose with scents of blackcurrant and raspberry coulis, a touch of melted tar and tobacco; youthful for its age and showing fine vigor. With aeration there is suddenly a strong scent of liquorice. The palate is soft and rounded on the entry however, there is great depth on the mid-palate with layers of slightly toasted black fruit laced with tobacco, black pepper and smoke. I just felt there is a little dryness creeping in towards the finish, nevertheless this is a fine Pessac-Léognan. 2018 - 2045

Score: 92Neal Martin,, February 2018

This is very ripe and plumy on the nose with touches of cassis, raisin and liquorice. Just a little over the top for me. The palate is very ripe and supple, a Margaux-like texture, silky tannins, very focused and sensuous on the finish. As usual, this is a polished wine, not as complex as others but texturally it is wonderful. It will be interesting to see whether this gains nuances during élevage, although it cuts away abruptly. Tasted April 2009

Score: 89/91Neal Martin,, April 2009

Something a little cheesy on the nose. Sweet start but a lack of concentration. A little slack. Rather green tannins. A bit austere. But confident and with real attack and bite. Lots there. All on the finish. Impressive on the finish, which makes me think I may have underrated it. Absolutely no tartiness. This seemed an especially pure Smith, quite a departure from some previous vintages, or a next step on the road for Smith: less seductive and going for pure individuality.

Score: 16.5+Jancis Robinson MW,, April 2009

The mix of cassis and black cherry is overlaid by a smoky character. There are layers of flavour
first quite sweet black fruits then some fresher red with the sweetness of the black fruits filling
out the back palate and giving richness on the finish. 2015-2028

Score: 92Derek Smedley MW, November 2012

The smoky mix of blackcurrant, bramble and sloe give richness and depth to the nose. The palate is fleshed out by the ripe fruit and by rounded quite supple tannins. Towards the back firmer tannins give structure but they support rather than dominate the fruit.

Score: 88/93Derek Smedley MW, April 2009

Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.