Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac Leognan [Pre-arrival] 2019
JS96-97: This is a solid red with a compact, tight palate of black fruit and currants, as well as very pretty, powerful yet polished tannins. This shows finesse with structure.
VM96-98: The 2019 Smith Haut-Lafitte was cropped at 36hl/ha, undergoing manual pigeage and maturation in 60% new barrels for a planned 18 months. It has an intense, very pure bouquet with blackberry, briary and cherry compote and a hint of black olive tapenade in the background. The palate is medium-bodied with fine grain tannins that frame the pure, mineral-infused black fruit. Undercurrents of graphite and black olive surface towards the complex finish that I feel is less opulent but maybe more sophisticated than recent vintages of this top performer. Very elegant and refined, this is an outstanding success for winemaker Fabien Teitgen and his team. Tasted twice including samples direct from the château.
WA96-98+: The blend this year is 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, harvested from the 17th of September to the 10th of October. The wine is aging in French oak barriques, 60% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2019 Smith Haut Lafitte is downright hedonic on the nose, rolling sensuously out of the glass with notions of warm cassis, chocolate-covered cherries, Black Forest cake and black raspberries with nuances of cinnamon toast, lilacs, camphor and iron ore. Medium to full-bodied, the palate juxtaposes remarkable energy and brightness with densely packed, rich, ripe black fruits, framed by wonderfully ripe, finely grained tannins and fantastically invigorating freshness, finishing long with mineral-tinged fireworks. Stunning.