2010 Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
This is an extraordinary performance once again from the Cathiard family, the proprietors of Smith-Haut-Lafitte. They think the 2010 is even better than the 2009. (I disagree, but only slightly.) This wine has laser-like definition in its an remarkable nose of a subtle charcoal fire interwoven with spring flowers, creme de cassis, blueberry liqueur and spicy wood. Full-bodied, stunningly concentrated, long, rich and moderately tannic, this wine is set for an exceptionally long life of 30-40 years but can be drunk in 5-7. (98+)
*Cellar Selection* A beautifully ripe wine with great black fruits that burst through the classic tannins. In its richness and in its structure, it combines the best of the vintage. Dark, complex, fruity and very rich, a magnificent wine for long-term aging.
Gorgeous, with alluring black tea and warm ganache notes that unfurl slowly, while the core of intense steeped plum, anise, blackberry compote and black currant confiture sits patiently in reserve. The beautiful loam-, tobacco- and tar-filled finish displays major heft, but also remarkable polish and grace. Should age very slowly. Best from 2018 through 2035.
Aromas of blueberries, blackberries and plums follow through to a full body, with velvety tannins and a fruity finish. Lots of mushroom and fruit undertones. Very polished. Such finesse yet structure to this young wine.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Full ruby-red. Very ripe yet precise nose offers blueberry, black raspberry, violet, spices and sexy dried herbs; still a bit youthfully medicinal but already showing a lot of personality. Rich, pliant and hugely deep, with near-chocolatey ripeness to the highly concentrated dark berry, tobacco and spice flavors. This wonderfully broad, seamless, layered wine dusts the palate with ripe tannins and leaves the mouth perfumed. Built for a long life in bottle but balanced from day one: it's more bound-up today than the silkier and more voluptuous 2009 but I would not be surprised if this one eventually surpassed its younger sibling. 94(+?) points.
Easily the best Smith Haut Lafite that we can recall, this impressive youngster is rife with classic, curranty fruit, yet it is also quite complex with sympathetic elements of loamy soil and sweet, woodsy spice and an insistent, vaguely gravelly, mineral-like component running its length. It is nominally tannic but not in the least coarse, and, while it has the look of a wine that will improve for ten to twenty years, we can see it starting to charm in only five or six.
That fine combination of pure dark fruit and savoury graphite that is so Bordeaux. On the palate it is much more fluid than most that have this much structure. Even with all that structure there is a lightness of touch and a freshness on the finish. Real finesse and subtlety. 18/20 points.