Château Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Léognan Gran Cru Classe 2016
|Region||France, Bordeaux, Pessac-Leognan|
|Brand||Château Smith Haut Lafitte|
The 2016 Smith Haut Lafitte is flat out stunning. Rich, ample, and explosive, 2016 possesses tremendous energy and tension to play off the wine's dark, rich fruit. I am not sure I have ever tasted a young Smith Haut Lafitte with such extraordinary balance. In 2016, the Grand Vin is tense and pulsing with energy. Hints of lavender, spice, menthol, and crème de cassis open up in the glass, but 2016 stands out for its feel and exceptional harmony. The combined effects of picking a bit early, vinifying more gently, and reducing the impact of oak are having a profound effect at Smith Haut Lafitte. Thinking of some of the highly regarded wines of the last decade here, the 2009 and 2010 in particular, well, 2016 is on another level. This is magnificent showing from proprietors Florence and Daniel Cathiard, and their team led by Technical Director Fabien Teitgen.
Composed of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot and matured in 60% new oak for 18 months, the 2016 Smith Haut Lafitte has a very deep garnet-purple color, opening with sensuous scents of warm black cherries, blackberry pie, star anise and fragrant lilacs with hints of chocolate box, cigar box, and pencil lead plus wafts of truffles and crushed rocks. Medium to full-bodied, rich, and seductive, it fills the palate with perfumed blackberry preserves and superbly plush tannins, finishing epically long and beautifully layered.
Barrel Sample. With its dense structure, superb acidity and black currant fruits, this is a great wine from the estate owned by Daniel and Florence Cathiard. A majority old-vine Cabernet Sauvignon (with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) gives the wine the concentration it needs to mature slowly. This elegant wine will be ready to drink after 2032.
Seductively fleshy and creamy in feel, with alluring dark plum and fig notes laced with singed bay, black tea and dark earth hints. The broad finish has the grip and cut for definition. A beautiful wine in the making.
Moving to the reds, the 2016 Château Smith Haut Lafitte checks in as 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot that spent 18 months in 60% new oak. It's undeniably a more elegant, reserved style from this estate, yet it still offers full-bodied richness and depth, with a classic perfume of cassis, black currants, cold fireplace, wood smoke, and tobacco. Deep, nicely concentrated, seamless, and, again, incredibly elegant, it's going to flesh out nicely with short-term cellaring and keep for 20-30 years.
The blackcurrant and blueberry aromas are lifted and beautiful. Lots of flowers, too, together with some mushroom and dried-flower undertones. Full-bodied with the firm and very silky tannins giving a lovely texture. Bright acidity lifts the finish and gives it drive and force. Better after 2025.