Daniel and Florence Cathiard transformed this property in the early 1990s and have been making very individual, sexy wines since then which combine flavours of classic earthy Graves with silky and seductive new oak from barrels produced by their in-house cooper. The 67 hectare vineyard is planted with 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot and the remainder Cabernet Franc. Maturation in 60% new oak from their in-house cooper. In 2018 production is down by 35%. The Cathiards describe this vintage as "classic plus".
|Bordeaux||2018||Smith Haut Lafitte||BT||2||0||978.00||12||24||108.66666666667||99.00||99.00||Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge||0.75|
|Wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.|
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.
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. 2023 - 2050
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! 2026 - 2056
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.
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.
The 2018 Smith Haut Lafitte was picked from 18 September until 8 October. There was no saignée according to winemaker Fabien Teitgen and he told me that this year they used no stems. I have to say, I really adore this nose: blackberry, bilberry, crushed stone and iris petals, very well defined and the new oak playing a supporting role. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins, taut and linear with black fruit laced with iodine and black olive. There is plenty of freshness here, very focused with a crisp and lively finish. This is a superb Smith Haut Lafitte that should age with real style. 2023 - 2050
Composed of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot aging in 60% new barriques, the very deep purple-black colored 2018 Smith Haut Lafitte is a little shy to begin. With coaxing, it very slowly unfurls to reveal a heart-stopping perfume of violets, red roses, kirsch, black cherries and redcurrant jelly, before giving way to a profound core of warm blackcurrants, blackberry preserves, molten licorice and cinnamon stick with nuances of dried mint, orange blossoms (yes!) and cloves. Full-bodied, the fruit does veritable pirouettes on your palate, both elegant and powerful in its expression, coating the mouth with densely packed red and black fruits while revealing tons of mineral, floral and savory sparks, framed by exquisitely fine-grained tannins and bold freshness, finishing very long.
This is incredibly complex with hazelnut, currant, berry and dried-flower character. The impression of a vat of fermenting cabernet. Full body, round and juicy tannins and a long, soft and silky finish. Shows the essence of the fruit here. Fascinating. Layered and complex.
The 2018 Smith Haut Lafitte is powerful, dense and also tightly wound. There is good depth to the red cherry and plum fruit, but the 2018 comes across as not fully put together. It will be interesting to see what élevage does, but today, the Grand Vin, while good, is not especially thrilling. The tannins need time to soften, and the wine just needs time to find its center. I found the 2018 very challenging to taste on two separate occasions.
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.
Deep purple with an exotic and powerful nose of wood smoke, roasted meats and black cherries. The palate is flashy and plush, with cashmere tannins and glossy black fruits. Through the mid palate the fruit becomes increasingly sweet and chocolately, with hints of baked vanilla and brioche. The tannins are poised and refined, supporting rather than dominating the fruit. The finish is toasty, plump and long.
Checking in as 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot brought up in 60% new French oak, the 2018 Château Smith Haut Lafitte reveals a saturated purple color as well as rock star notes of crème de cassis, blueberries, graphite, crushed rocks, and spice. Deep, profoundly concentrated, beautifully seamless and textured on the palate, it reminds me of the 2009 with its opulent, powerful style. It's a brilliant wine from this terrific estate and up with the top wines in the vintage. Hats off to director Fabien Teitgen who continues to make an elegant yet powerful, uncompromising style of wine.
Ripe and lush, with delicious waves of plum, blackberry and black currant preserve flavors laced with subtle charcoal, tobacco and licorice notes. There's a long flow through the finish. Beautifully rendered, capturing the ripeness of the vintage in spades without being heady at all.
There is a luxurious, languorous feel right from the very first nose here, which continues step for step all the way through the palate. It's a highly impressive wine with an amazing texture - something that is starting to mark Smith Haut Lafitte out every year. Notes of dark chocolate, black cherry and liquorice stretch out through the rich palate, displaying tension and texture.
2% Petit Verdot completes the blend. Harvested 18 September to 10 October. 60% new oak.
Drinking Window 2027 - 2042
(60 Cabernet Sauvignon, 34 Merlot, 4 Cabernet Franc, 2 Petit Verdot) | 60% new oak | 14.5% alc | 21 hl/ha SHL lost around half of the crop due to the early bout of mildew. I love the strict, tightly-wound Cabernet here and the tannins are huge in this wine. It will be a sleeper and I think that it could make fifty years such is the grip. The winemaking was incredibly gentle and yet there is a mass of potential which will propel this blackcurrant time bomb to explode. A classic.