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 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot and the remainder Cabernet Franc. Maturation in 60% new oak from their in-house cooper. In 2018 production is down by 35%. The Cathiards describe this vintage as "classic plus".
|Bordeaux||2018||Smith Haut Lafitte||BT||2 \ 0||24||960.00||12||24||106.66666666667||99.00||99.00||Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge||0.75||10|
|Wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.|
The 2018 Château Smith Haut Lafitte is based on 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, and the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, all of which was brought up in 60% new French oak. Its dense purple color is followed by an incredible perfume of blackcurrants, blueberries, camphor, scorched earth, chocolate, and tobacco. It's young and unevolved, yet the purity is off the charts, and it slowly gives up more spice and floral notes with time in the glass. Hitting the palate with full-bodied richness, it's an incredibly concentrated, powerful wine that has plenty of baby fat covering serious amounts of underlying structure and tannins. It has some up-front appeal from an educational standpoint, yet really needs a decade of bottle age and is going to keep for 30-40 years in cold cellars. It comes closest in my mind to a mix of the 2010 and 2016.
Purity of fruit here with plum and cherry aromas, as well as wet earth and spice. Light stone. Very floral and vivid. Full-bodied with layers of ripe tannins that are balanced and polished. Savory finish. Incredibly polished and refined. Goes on for minutes. One of the finest Smith-Haut Lafittes I have tasted. Drink after 2024.
A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, aged in 60% new barriques, the very deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Smith Haut Lafitte bursts onto the scene with showy scents of crème de cassis, mocha, licorice and cedar chest, followed by suggestions of baked plums, smoked meats, tar and tobacco leaf. The medium to full-bodied palate brings sophistication to all that flamboyant fruit with a beautifully styled frame of finely grained tannins and bold freshness, finishing bright and fruity with loads of minerally sparks. This is a stunning, singular style that is sure to turn heads! 2026 - 2056
There is a luxurious, languorous feel right from the very first nose here, which continues step for step all the way through the palate. It's a highly impressive wine with an amazing texture - something that is starting to mark Smith Haut Lafitte out every year. Notes of dark chocolate, black cherry and liquorice stretch out through the rich palate, displaying tension and texture.
2% Petit Verdot completes the blend. Harvested 18 September to 10 October. 60% new oak.
Drinking Window 2027 - 2042
Tasted blind. Some mineral scent. Very sweet with flattering purple-fruit flavours and riper tannins. Intense. 14.5%
Drink 2026 – 2042
Black with purple rim. Intense, pure, ripe but fresh cassis and gently floral. Much more savoury on the palate, very firm, compact but fine, chalky tannins. Tightly structured. Many-layered rather than thick. Dense and impenetrable at the moment but has enough freshness and incipient harmony to promise more.
Deep purple with an exotic and powerful nose of wood smoke, roasted meats and black cherries. The palate is flashy and plush, with cashmere tannins and glossy black fruits. Through the mid palate the fruit becomes increasingly sweet and chocolately, with hints of baked vanilla and brioche. The tannins are poised and refined, supporting rather than dominating the fruit. The finish is toasty, plump and long.
Ripe and lush, with delicious waves of plum, blackberry and black currant preserve flavors laced with subtle charcoal, tobacco and licorice notes. There's a long flow through the finish. Beautifully rendered, capturing the ripeness of the vintage in spades without being heady at all.
(60 Cabernet Sauvignon, 34 Merlot, 4 Cabernet Franc, 2 Petit Verdot) | 60% new oak | 14.5% alc | 21 hl/ha SHL lost around half of the crop due to the early bout of mildew. I love the strict, tightly-wound Cabernet here and the tannins are huge in this wine. It will be a sleeper and I think that it could make fifty years such is the grip. The winemaking was incredibly gentle and yet there is a mass of potential which will propel this blackcurrant time bomb to explode. A classic.
This is incredibly complex with hazelnut, currant, berry and dried-flower character. The impression of a vat of fermenting cabernet. Full body, round and juicy tannins and a long, soft and silky finish. Shows the essence of the fruit here. Fascinating. Layered and complex.
Composed of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot aging in 60% new barriques, the very deep purple-black colored 2018 Smith Haut Lafitte is a little shy to begin. With coaxing, it very slowly unfurls to reveal a heart-stopping perfume of violets, red roses, kirsch, black cherries and redcurrant jelly, before giving way to a profound core of warm blackcurrants, blackberry preserves, molten licorice and cinnamon stick with nuances of dried mint, orange blossoms (yes!) and cloves. Full-bodied, the fruit does veritable pirouettes on your palate, both elegant and powerful in its expression, coating the mouth with densely packed red and black fruits while revealing tons of mineral, floral and savory sparks, framed by exquisitely fine-grained tannins and bold freshness, finishing very long.
Checking in as 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot brought up in 60% new French oak, the 2018 Château Smith Haut Lafitte reveals a saturated purple color as well as rock star notes of crème de cassis, blueberries, graphite, crushed rocks, and spice. Deep, profoundly concentrated, beautifully seamless and textured on the palate, it reminds me of the 2009 with its opulent, powerful style. It's a brilliant wine from this terrific estate and up with the top wines in the vintage. Hats off to director Fabien Teitgen who continues to make an elegant yet powerful, uncompromising style of wine.