These vineyards have expanded over time to reach 80 hectares in a single block. The owners and technical director live at opposite ends of the estate, which benefits from round-the-clock monitoring, ensuring responsive action in case of poor weather. In this ocean of vines, seven red and white grape varieties are grown and blended to create Château Smith Haut Lafitte wines.
The estate owes its reputation as “the quintessential Graves” to both the smoky notes of its wines and its hilly terroir (Laffite or Lafite in old French), consisting of semi-precious and river stones deposited by the Garonne millions of years ago. Composed of Günz gravel, Smith Haut Lafitte’s terroir boasts two astonishing features: superb natural drainage forcing the vine roots to sink deep to extract water and mineral salts over six metres below the surface, and a “mirror effect” reflecting the sun’s rays on the gravelly soil for optimum ripening.
The finest wine ever made by proprietors Daniel and Florence Cathiard, the 2009 Smith-Haut-Lafitte exhibits an opaque blue/purple color in addition to a glorious nose of acacia flowers, licorice, charcoal, blueberries, black raspberries, lead pencil shavings and incense. This massive, extraordinarily rich, unctuously textured wine may be the most concentrated effort produced to date, although the 2000, 2005 and 2010 are nearly as prodigious. A gorgeous expression of Pessac-Leognan with sweet tannin, emerging charm and delicacy, and considerable power, depth, richness and authority, it should age effortlessly for 30-40+ years. Bravo!
[100 points – Robert M. Parker Jr. – Dec 2011-robertparker.com ]