About the Wine
"One of the most concentrated, rich, and sexy wines in the vintage, this massive and extraordinarily opulent 2020 shows the vintage's pure, elegant profile yet backs it up with sensational levels of fruit and texture." ~100 Points Jeb Dunnuck
Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte is a Grand Cru Classified Château from Graves. The story of this estate dates back to the 14th century when George Smith, a Scottish wine businessman, acquired the estate and renamed it after him.
The property passed through the hands of different owns, but it was in 1990, with the acquisition of Daniel and Florence Cathiard, that this winery finally exploit its potential, and became synonymous with premium, high-quality wines in Bordeaux, and as Wine Spectator said, “rejuvenated into one of Bordeaux’s elite properties.”
The Cathiard family are wine legends in the business. They own 5 different Châteaux in Bordeaux, and recently acquired Flora Springs in Napa Valley. They say their "philosophy can be summed up in one sentence: to do everything possible to make each vintage of red and white wine worthy of its magnificent terroir.”
Since 1990, the 200-acre vineyard has been managed under sustainable and organic practices. In 2019, the estate was organically certified and started to implement biodynamic viticulture.
This Château owes its reputation as “the quintessential tomb” to the smoky notes of its wines and its mountainous terroir, made up of the river and semi-precious stones deposited by the Garonne millions of years ago.
2020 was a great year for Bordeaux. Vinous Media blessed this year with a 97-point review and said, "Two thousand-twenty is an exceptional vintage for Bordeaux, certainly the best in the 2018-2020 trilogy. Quality is very, very high."
Aging: 18 months in barrels (60% new)
Tasting Notes: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.
A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot aging in 60% new barriques, the very deep purple-black colored 2020 Smith Haut Lafitte makes an impactful entrance, opening with flamboyant notes of blackcurrant pastilles, chocolate-covered cherries and molten licorice, leading to nuances of ground cloves, woodsmoke, crushed rocks and dusty soil. The medium to full-bodied palate bursts with opulent black fruit preserves and shimmering mineral sparks, framed by exquisitely ripe and fantastically firm tannins and seamless freshness, finishing with epically long-lasting earthy and savory layers. This is the singular voice of Smith Haut Lafitte at its finest, and wow-oh-wow is it worth a listen. This 2020 has an alcohol of 14.5% with a pH of 3.65. The tannins this year were a little higher than 2018 and 2019. A little less than a third of production went into this grand vin. ~100 Wine Advocate
Absolutely pure gold and reminding me of the 2009 (or is it the 2010?), the 2020 Château Smith Haut Lafitte sports a dense purple hue to go with incredible aromatics of blackberries, blueberries, scorched earth, wood smoke, and acacia flowers. One of the most concentrated, rich, and sexy wines in the vintage, this massive and extraordinarily opulent 2020 shows the vintage's pure, elegant profile yet backs it up with sensational levels of fruit and texture. Based on 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it already offers pleasure given its wealth of fruit, but it deserves 7-8 years of bottle age and will evolve for 40-50 years. Not enough can be said about the quality of these wines. ~100 Jeb Dunnuck
Extremely fresh and deep in the nose with raspberry and blackcurrant character, as well as stone, fresh green tobacco and ink. Full-bodied with a dense center palate and gorgeous fine yet steely tannins. It calms down at the end with berries, citrus and some lavender. Salty at the end. Very minerally. Flinty. From organically grown grapes. 65% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot, 4% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot. ~99 James Suckling
This is a very fine wine, packed with tannins that are rich and suspended in the wine with its smoky edge and ripe blackberry fruits. The wine is direct in its fine, fragrant freshness and in its texture which gives power and concentration. Obviously for long-term aging. ~98 Wine Enthusiast
Powerful on the attack, dense and concentrated at first then brighter on the retro-olfaction with layers of spice, liquorice and flowers. Intense but beautifully precise, with iris and peony aromatics coming in strongly as it opens in the glass. A ton of nuance and complexity, really takes its time, delivering a masterclass in restrained Pessac glamour. Average yields 30hl/ha for the reds. 1% Petit Verdot completes the blend. 60% new oak. ~97 Decanter
Exotic and lush in feel, with well-steeped plum, boysenberry and blackberry fruit flavors rolling through, scored with hints of espresso crema, dark tobacco and black licorice along the way. Very polished in feel, but with a late flicker of savory and a subtle tug of earth to keep this honest in the end. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2026 ~95 Wine Spectator
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