Smith Haut Lafitte 2018


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".

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Colour Region Vintage Wine Size Cs Bts GBP
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Bordeaux2018Smith Haut LafitteBT20978.001294/96 NMAdd to Basket
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Tasting Notes

The 2018 Smith Haut Lafitte was picked from 18 September until 8 October. There was no saignée according to winemaker Fabien Teitgen and he told me that this year they used no stems. I have to say, I really adore this nose: blackberry, bilberry, crushed stone and iris petals, very well defined and the new oak playing a supporting role. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins, taut and linear with black fruit laced with iodine and black olive. There is plenty of freshness here, very focused with a crisp and lively finish. This is a superb Smith Haut Lafitte that should age with real style. 2023 - 2050

Score: 94/96Neal Martin,, November 2019

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.

Score: 97/99+Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (April 2019), April 2019

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.

Score: 98/99James Suckling,, April 2019

The 2018 Smith Haut Lafitte is powerful, dense and also tightly wound. There is good depth to the red cherry and plum fruit, but the 2018 comes across as not fully put together. It will be interesting to see what élevage does, but today, the Grand Vin, while good, is not especially thrilling. The tannins need time to soften, and the wine just needs time to find its center. I found the 2018 very challenging to taste on two separate occasions.

Score: 90/93Antonio Galloni,, May 2019

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.
Drink 2028-2038

Score: 17Julia Harding MW,, April 2019

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.

Score: 17.5Farr Vintners, Farr Tasting, April 2019

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.

Score: 97/100Jeb Dunnuck,, May 2019

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.

Score: 95/98James Molesworth, Wine Spectator, March 2019

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

Score: 98Jane Anson,, April 2019

(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.

Score: 18+Matthew Jukes,, April 2019

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