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Owned by former Olympic skiers the Cathiards, SHL is one of the oldest known wine producing properties in Bordeaux. Tight, dark, coiled and dense - a little black fruit and floral perfume. Really dense palate, layered with perfume and ripe black fruit, accentuated by lovely spice and high toned mineral characters. Fresh and precise, but soft and approachable. Real class. Very good. - April 2017
Composed of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot and matured in 60% new oak for 18 months, the 2016 Smith Haut Lafitte has a very deep garnet-purple color, opening with sensuous scents of warm black cherries, blackberry pie, star anise and fragrant lilacs with hints of chocolate box, cigar box and pencil lead plus wafts of truffles and crushed rocks. Medium to full-bodied, rich and seductive, it completely fills the palate with perfumed black berry preserves and superbly plush tannins, finishing epically long and beautifully layered. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, November 2018
The 2016 Smith Haut-Lafitte has an opulent, lavish bouquet with layers of black cherry, Christmas cake, dark chocolate and vanilla. This wants to make an impression. The palate is very seductive, featuring lush red berry fruit, brown spices and saturated tannins. Some new oak is evident on the finish, but that will be subsumed with bottle age. I can see this aging well. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting.
Seductively fleshy and creamy in feel, with alluring dark plum and fig notes laced with singed bay, black tea and dark earth hints. The broad finish has the grip and cut for definition. A beautiful wine in the making. - James Molesworth (WineSpectator.com, April 2017)
The blackcurrant and blueberry aromas are lifted and beautiful. Lots of flowers, too, together with some mushroom and dried-flower undertones. Full-bodied with firm and very silky tannins giving a lovely texture. Bright acidity lifts the finish and gives it drive and force. Better after 2025.
Blackish crimson. Nose that manages to combine flesh and ripeness with freshness. Some restraint here and some very natural flavours. A quiet king. Great appetising wine with the ripeness of the vintage. Very classy. - jancisrobinson.com, April 2017
The 2016 Smith Haut Lafitte is flat out stunning. Rich, ample and explosive, the 2016 possesses tremendous energy and tension to play off the wine's dark, rich fruit. I am not sure I have ever tasted a young Smith Haut Lafitte with such extraordinary balance. In 2016, the Grand Vin is tense and pulsing with energy. Hints of lavender, spice, menthol and crème de cassis open up in the glass, but the 2016 stands out for its feel and exceptional harmony. The combined effects of picking a bit early, vinifiying more gently and reducing the impact of oak are having a profound effect at Smith Haut Lafitte. Thinking of some of the highly regarded wines of the last decade here, the 2009 and 2010 in particular, well, the 2016 is on another level. This is magnificent showing from proprietors Florence and Daniel Cathiard, and their team led by Technical Director Fabien Teitgen.
The depth of color is serious. On the nose, there is dark red fruits, licorice, smoke, herbs and espresso bean. The wine is clearly intense, and also lifted, which is very hard to do! The oak is better integrated than in previous vintages and the velvet and silky texture on the palate is a complete turn on. Everything is in balance and harmony here. The finish is seamless. This is going to age quite well.
Moving to the reds, the 2016 Château Smith Haut Lafitte checks in as 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot that spent 18 months in 60% new oak. It’s undeniably a more elegant, reserved style from this estate, yet it still offers full-bodied richness and depth, with a classic perfume of cassis, black currants, cold fireplace, wood smoke, and tobacco. Deep, nicely concentrated, seamless, and, again, incredibly elegant, it’s going to flesh out nicely with short-term cellaring and keep for 20-30 years. - jebdunnuck.com, February 2019
A brilliant wine, one of the best ever at this property. Straight from the first nose you feel an added dimension and aromatic complexity to this bottle. The diversity of flavours tumbles out on the attack, from brambled autumnal fruits to tighter, fresher black cherry and cassis notes. The body is deeply coloured, full of life and pleasure, with rich, deep cassis and high but generous alcohol that's not intrusive but showing through in the smooth texture. It was great En primeur and is even better today. 1% Petit Verdot finishes the blend. - decanter.com, Jane Anson, December 2018
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