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!
The 2009 Smith Haut-Lafitte has a very perfumed, quite floral bouquet with violets permeating the black and red fruit, hints of game and leather developing with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin. Touches of brown spice filter through the red fruit and towards a fleshy and lightly peppered finish. This is a classy Pessac-Léognan from the Cathiard's...though, the 2016 is better! Tasted blind at Farr Vintners’ 2009 Bordeaux tasting. 2020 - 2050
Aromas of flowers, dried citrus fruit and blueberries follow through to a full body, with firm and silky tannins and a long, long finish. Gorgeous fruit and structure. Polished and powerful. Best red ever from Smith. Best in 2018
This was the vintage that made everyone sit up and take notice of Smith Haut-Lafitte, and it is unquestionaby delivering rich, ripe, beautifully complex flavours. It's welcoming, if still young at 13 years old, and full of generous cassis and blackberry fruit, with graphite, black chocolate, smoked cedar. Plenty of tannins that cradle the fruit and suggest that, although this is now in its drinking window, it will power on for decades to come. Harvest from September 25.
Moderate and rather cool and intriguing on the nose. Some sweetness at first and then slightly inky. The tannins are far from the most supple but they just about do the trick without being too drying on the finish. Just a little bit gawky, and there's some alcohol on the finish. Date tasted 2nd April 2010. Drink 2016-2026.
Daniel and Florence Cathiard transformed this property in the early 1990s and have been making decadent, modern, sexy wines here since then which combine flavours of classic earthy Graves with silky and seductive new oak. The 2009 has lovely richness with a touch of prunes on the palate. Fleshy and warm. Ripe and plump but full of smoothness and charm. High in glycerol. Silky and voluptuous.
There is a mass of black fruit fleshing out the nose and packing the palate. Bramble intermingles with cassis slightly firmed up by black cherry. The tannins although very much in evidence feel ripe aiding the richness. There is the freshness of red cherry and redcurrant giving an attractive brightness on the back palate.Drink 2020-2040.
Dense red, fine rich and wonderfully succulent and briary wild fruits nose, rich, robust vineyard fruit with internal spice, energy and depth. Drink 2016-30.
One can't say enough about what proprietors Daniel and Florence Cathiard have accomplished at this estate since 1990. Regrettably, I am old enough to remember how horrible the wines were before the Cathiards purchased the property. They have fashioned one of the most consistently outstanding wines, both white and red, over the last two decades, and their 2009 probably eclipses any previous performance. An opaque purple color is followed by an explosive nose of graphite, black currants, licorice, incense, and a hint of black tea. The wine hits the palate with extraordinary density, unctuosity, and richness, yet it never comes across as heavy or overbearing. Deep and full-bodied with sensational concentration as well as remarkable purity and precision, this brilliant wine possesses the high, but sweet tannins that are a hallmark of the vintage, and exceptional delicacy allied to massive power and richness ... a rare combination indeed. This prodigious effort should drink well for 30-40 years. Bravo! (Tasted five times.) Drink 2010-2050.
Robert Parker added an asterisk to this wine score to signify that it is a wine he considers has the finest potential of all the offerings he has ever tasted from this estate in nearly 32 years of barrel tasting samples in Bordeaux.
Tasted at the chateau. Picked between 25th September and 17th October, 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot cropped at 32 hl/ha, this has a very sleek, well defined bouquet, very pure with dark berried fruits, just a hint of coca and dark chocolate powder. Very focused, very linear at the moment but developing a lovely saline/estuarine character towards the finish. The palate is full-bodied with very silky tannins, harmonious, sensuous, very good weight and acidity, layers of ripe black, coca-tinged fruit with a sense of nonchalance and self-assured swagger towards the finish. Very pure, very long on the finish, leaving the mouth tingling with pleasure. This is a very assured Smith Haut Lafitte. Tasted April 2010.
From Robert Parker's Hong Kong Tasting, 8th Nov 2011:
Intense aromas of blackberries with hints of green coffee beans and spices. Turns to currants and blackberries. Full bodied, with gorgeous velvety tannins and a long, long finish. The texture and fruit to this wine is captivating. Try after 2022
Clean. Blackberry and lightly toasted oak with coffee and cedar. Full-bodied and a very, very powerful structure. Blockbuster. Massive and dense, yet remains agile. A triumph for this estate.