2015 Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)
This is a very polished and precise young wine with beautiful depth and intensity. Full and sexy. It shows blueberry and black currant character with walnut and chocolate undertones. The tannins have a lovely texture. Joy to taste.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2015 Smith-Haut-Lafitte is adorned with a special label to celebrate the 650th anniversary of the château and the 25th vintage made under the ownership of Daniel and Florence Cathiard. It is a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, picked between 23 September until 12 October with the Cabernet Franc. Matured in 65% new oak (although technical director Fabien Teitgen mentioned that he could have added more if he felt it would benefit), it has a very intense, blueberry and crème de cassis scented bouquet, a touch more opulent than its peers with hints of freshly shucked oyster shell developing with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannin couched in gorgeous, satin-textured black cherry and cassis fruit, tinged with cedar and pencil shavings. It lingers very long and sensually in the mouth, completing a sophisticated and powerful Smith Haut-Lafitte that should age in splendid fashion. (NM)
*Barrel Tasting* Ripe and succulent in feel, with warm plum and blackberry confiture notes leading the way. Picks up singed alder and tar details through the finish, gaining extra depth. Very pure, but with ample grip in reserve. A serious wine. (JM, Web-2016)
The 2015 Smith Haut Lafitte is superb. Dark, powerful and towering, the 2015 exudes richness and a level of intensity in all directions that is remarkable. This is an especially dark, brooding Grand Vin built on serious depth, intensity and structure, and yet there is more than enough richness in the fruit to balance things out. The extreme heat of the year appears to have baked out some of the aromatic nuance. It will be interesting to see if that dimension opens up. For now, the 2015 is massively shut down. Readers will have to be especially patient, as the 2015 won't be ready to drink for some time. Both en primeur samples I tasted were less expressive than the separate components were when I tasted them from barrel in late January 2016, so I won't be surprised at all if the bottled wine comes in at the top of this range. Tasted two times. 93-96+ (AG)
There's huge potential here, now only just hinting at its rich fruits and concentrated tannins. Dark and very firmly textured, it is going to be rich as well as finely balanced. (RV)
New black label to celebrate the Cathiards' anniversary and that of the property. Very dark. Comfortable base and lots of perfume. Round and sweet. Tense and tight. An excitingly taut package that promises well. 18/20 points (JR)