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This is a really pure, mineral beast with layers of beautiful chalkiness and fine perfume.The tannins are significant but have a soft edge, carrying both fruit density and great freshness. Persistent and fine on the finish. - April 2019
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! LPB
The 2018 Smith Haut Lafitte was very impressive in barrel, and now in bottle, it delivers. Wonderful precision on the nose, subtle at first but unfurling with each swirl of the glass, revealing scents of blackberry and crushed stone, iris petals like before, and maybe a touch more violet. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tension and good structure. This is a very tight Smith Haut Lafitte, and even affording it 3–4 hours of decanting, it remains more reserved vis-à-vis recent vintages. It eventually offers plenty of black fruit, black olives, a light marine influence and a pinch of cracked black pepper on the sturdy finish. An outstanding Smith Haut Lafitte, given the vintage.
Ripe and seductive, with a caressing wave of cassis, plum puree and blackberry compote flavors that hold sway throughout, but not without support from enticing savory, licorice, warm loam and mineral accents along the way. Cashmere finish lets everything sail on and on. Gorgeous. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2024 through 2040. 10,000 cases made. — JM
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.
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. - Julia Harding, jancisrobinson.com, April 2019
The 2018 Smith Haut Lafitte is a powerful wine. Huge, searing tannins dominate the balance. Readers will have to be exceedingly patient. With several hours of air the fruit finally starts to emerge. Blackberry, grilled herb, smoke, licorice and incense all take shape in the glass. The impression is of brooding, somber, unrestrained power. Sadly, mildew took with it 50% of the potential crop.
Deep, dark almost inky in color, the wine pops with smoke, licorice, wet forest, spice box, cherry, black raspberry, espresso and dark chocolate create an exciting aromatic profile. The wine is rich, deep, dense, concentrated, plush and sensual. There is a lot going on here, but everything is in harmony. Most of the oak is already integrated, due to a reduction of time in the barrel and less toast. This helps show off the purity in the fruits and softens the expression, making this a stellar wine, that will age gracefully for decades. Produced from a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, not much wine was produced as yields were less than half of a normal year. This could be my favorite vintage of Smith Haut Lafitte.
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.
Really settling in to the potential that it showed en primeur, this is tightly coiled right now but still full of plush, carefully placed tannins, with olive paste, cassis and dark chocolate. Powerful but also elegant and understated. 2% Petit Verdot completes the blend. Harvested 18 September to 10 October. 60% new oak (tasted twice, see below).
Straight from the moment you pour this you see, visually and on the aromatics, the density of the wine. This has really held the promise and power that it delivered during en primeur. Subtle and concentrated with dark chocolate, truffle and cassis that gathers weight as it expands outwards through the palate. Mineral pulses along the finish add finesse and balance, as does smoke and crushed stone as it opens further. Yields of just 21 hl/ha for the first wine. 2% Petit Verdot completes the blend. 60% new oak.
Tasted by Jane Anson (at Bordeaux, 10 Nov 2020)
Part of Bordeaux 2018 in bottle: full overview plus top scoring wines
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