2016 Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)

SKU #1299445 97-98 points James Suckling

 Wow. This is incredibly rich and exotic. Full-bodied, so deep and long. It lasts for minutes. Perfectly polished tannins evidence how texturally focused and supple this is. Decadent and enticing. From organically grown grapes. Super quality of Cabernet is on show here. We will see if 2016 is better than 2015.  (4/2017)

96-98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2016 Smith-Haut-Lafitte is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot that was picked between 29 September and 19 October at 35 hectoliters per hectare. It is being matured in 60% new oak for a total of 18 months. "We have never been so proud of our Cabernet Sauvignon," winemaker Fabien Tietgen told me. Now, this has a much subtler bouquet than recent vintages, you could argue, more intellectual than the 2015 Smith-Haut-Lafitte. First there are aromas of blackberry, briary and just a hint of iodine, then underneath that, marine-like aromas such as freshly shucked oyster shells, pressed flowers and a touch of brown spice. There is wonderful delineation here. The palate is medium-bodied with plenty of tightly-wound black fruit, intermingling with smoke, black pepper, spice box and a touch of bay leaf. This is an extremely precise Smith-Haut-Lafitte, certainly a cerebral 2016 that might well be approachable young, yet will certainly age in consummate style. The château's own tasting note reads "What more could one possibly want from a wine?" The answer to that is: "Another bottle." (NM)  (4/2017)

96-98 points Wine Enthusiast

 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. (RV)  (4/2017)

95-98 points Wine Spectator

 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. (JM)  (4/2017)

97 points Decanter

 This is gorgeous, extremely ripe, tight, fresh and rich. It has clear, deep tannins and a thrilling tension that slices right through the ripe, autumnal fruit and teases out the finish. There are true layers to the wine, with flavours of cassis, liquorice and charcoal, demonstrating a reserved power that keeps on delivering. The tannin count is at a full 100IPT, a touch higher than in 2010 but they just float along, offering the perfect resistance and interest in your mouth. Technical director Fabien Teitgen used 10% stems in the vinification for 2016, utilising organic winemaking methods. The blend is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet franc and 1% Petit Verdot, aged in 60% new oak barrels. 3.6pH. (JA)  (4/2017)

94-97 points Vinous

 The 2016 Smith Haut Lafitte is fabulous. Subtle, nuanced and classy, it speaks to finesse more than power. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. Gracious and light on its feet, the 2016 possesses exceptional balance and class, with captivating freshness and energy that gives lift to the dark red/purplish-hued fruit. There is much to like here. (AG)  (4/2017)

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Price: $104.99

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Staff Image By: Clyde Beffa Jr. | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/1/2017 | Send Email
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The Cathiards have brought Smith from underperforming to Bordeaux superstar in 25 years. They have learned from their earlier vintages and now make surely a second growth quality wine-maybe super second at a good price. The 2015 sold very well, and this is as good. 65% CS for this sexy, somewhat exotic mouthful of pleasure. Full-bodied and quite rich on the palate. Some red roses and cassis shining through on this modern rendition.
Drink from 2020 to 2040

Additional Information:

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 M├ędoc 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.