Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc Pessac Leognan AOC 2018
Tasting note: Tropical and juicy on the nose with pineapple, apricot and baked vanilla. The palate is glossy, rich and opulent, with the ripe fruit and sweet spices of oak giving a supple and plush mouthfeel. The acidity refreshes the palate on the finish, taming the more exuberant elements of the wine, leaving a smoky but harmonious impression.
Château Smith-Haut-Lafite has been transformed during the last decade from being a perennial underachiever to being one of the leading estates in the Graves region. For many years it was owned by the Bordeaux négociant Eschenauer - in 1990 it was bought by former Olympic skiing champion, Daniel Cathiard.
He cut down on the amount of chemicals and herbicides used in the vineyards and fully modernized the winemaking facilities. The proportion of new oak barrels used in the maturation process was increased and a trio of eminent oenologists (including the ubiquitous Michel Rolland) were hired as consultants. The 55 hectares of vineyards are located on a gravel ridge to the east of Château Haut-Bailly. The red wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (55%), Merlot (35%) and Cabernet Franc (10%). The grapes are fermented in stainless steel vats and the wine is then matured in oak barrels (50% new) for 15-18 months. The wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.