2012 Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)

SKU #1128726 94-95 points James Suckling

 The finish is gorgeous here with a crunchy, fruity, hazelnut and earthy character. Dense yet balanced with a beautiful texture and length. Creamy tannins. Superb for the vintage. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot.  (4/ 2013)

92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A brilliant success again, this blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot is a medium-bodied, impressively concentrated wine with copious quantities of red and black fruits. Licorice, roasted herbs and a touch of background oak are present in this slightly precocious wine, which should be accessible when released. It has the depth to evolve for 20 or more years. Talk about a severe selection - only 41% made it into the grand vin!  (4/ 2013)

92-94 points Wine Enthusiast

 Barrel sample. Dark, extracted and dense, this is a hard-edged wine that initially lacks fruitiness. Only as the wine develops does it show its powerful density and hints of juiciness.  (4/ 2013)

91-94 points Wine Spectator

 Dark, with a ganache frame to the black currant, plum and blackberry notes. Tarry finish is rather shut and stolid today, but there's serious stuffing here. Long charcoal echo, too.  (4/ 2013)

90-92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (55% cabernet sauvignon, 40% merlot, 4% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot; 60% new oak): Purple-ruby. Enticing aromas of blackcurrant, tobacco, violet and herbs. Creamy-sweet and rather powerful on entry, then brighter in the mid-palate, with lively acidity energizing dark fruit, floral and tobacco flavors. This is densely packed for a 2012, but also has a degree of finesse I haven't found in some past, bigger vintages of this wine. Finishes with building, smooth tannins and terrific persistence. A very strong vintage for this wine; this is yet another example of an estate that lowered the proportion of cabernet sauvignon in its 2012 blend (normally it's 60% to 65%).  (6/ 2013)

Jancis Robinson

 Dark purple. Appetising fresh forest-floor nose. Very sweet palate entry but there is freshness here too. Just a little skinny and astringent on the finish but this is attractive modern red bordeaux without overkill of either oak or alcohol. Very competent.  (4/ 2013)

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.
Sub-Region:

Bordeaux

- View our bestselling Bordeaux.
Specific Appellation:

Pessac-Leognan/Graves

- Graves is the large red and white wine region located to the southeast of the city of Bordeaux along the Garonne River. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the red wines from the area, while the whites are mixtures of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The most important area within the Graves is the village of Pessac-Leognan. Most of the great chateaux, including Haut Brion, a premier cru and the only wine outside of the Medoc to be included in the 1855 Classification, are located in this small appellation. Graves derives its name from the rocky, stony terrain of the region. Many people believe that the stony soil radiates the day's heat at night and thus makes the grapes ripen earlier than the other regions in Bordeaux.