The 2016 Les Hauts de Smith is pliant, racy and inviting. This Merlot-based wine offers tons of early accessibility and sheer appeal. Super-ripe red cherry, raspberry, mint, rose petal and dried flowers add grace throughout. A range of striking floral/savory Cabernet Sauvignon aromatics add complexity, while the Merlot is felt in the wine's fleshiness.
The 2016 Les Hauts de Smith, which is matured in 20% new oak, has a lifted, quite floral, nonchalant bouquet of black cherries and a touch of boysenberry. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, a little chewiness that imparts a sense of rusticity, and a seaweed note lending some complexity on the Cabernet-driven finish. Very fine.
Majority Merlot (with the remainder Cabernet Sauvignon), with a gourmet edge of blackberry fruits, chocolate and caramel hints. This is a vintage that really suits Merlot and so suits the style of Merlot dominant Les Hauts de Smith. Soft tannins that are fleshy and easy to love. Aged in 20% new oak. Drink 2020-2028.
Les Hauts de Smith is created during the blending process of Smith Haut Lafitte. It is vinified just like the grand vin and is aged in wood for 15 months with 20% new oak - in barrels made by the Chateau's own cooper. The blend has slightly more Merlot in it than Cabernet Sauvignon which makes it more approachable in its youth than Petit Haut Lafitte (which has a higher percentage of Cabernet). The 2016 vintage has a seductive nose of ripe red and black fruits with a hint of spice and vanilla. This is really smooth on the palate with lovely flesh from the Merlot and a touch of grip and bite from the Cabernet. The overall mouthfeel is one of balance and harmony with a cashmere-like texture and polished tannins. This wine is a delightful introduction to Smith Haut Lafitte at a very modest price. It is perfect to drink now but will age well for 5-10 years. It is certainly the best vintage of this wine that we've tasted since the 2010. Exclusive to Farr Vintners in the UK and highly recommended.