2012 Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The opaque bluish-purple 2012 Smith Haut Lafite offers up notes of licorice, graphite, blueberry and blackberry fruit, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, stunningly ripe, velvety tannins and a long, long finish. This is another sensational effort from the Cathiards that is perfectly balanced, complex, super-rich and pure. Drink it over the next 20-25 years. This is another great turn-around effort that dated from the acquisition of this once moribund estate in 1990, by Daniel and Florence Cathiard. They continue to do an exemplary job with both white and red.
This is very deep and sensual for the vintage with blackberry, tobacco, chocolate, coffee and spice character. Full body, super-integrated tannins and a long, long finish. Superb for the vintage. Give it three or four years to come around but already gorgeous.
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.
The layered fig, boysenberry and blackberry pâte de fruit notes are buttressed by ample, yet polished and integrated, ganachecoated tannins, while accents of black tea, ganache and tar course underneath. A really gorgeous display of fruit, showing terroir and cut on the finish. Best from 2018 through 2027.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
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%).
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.