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2005 Smith-Haut-Lafitte Blanc, Pessac-Léognan

SKU #1043584 96 points Wine Spectator

 Honey, apple tart, light toffee, cream, and piecrust. Very complex and full-bodied, with lively acidity and beautiful clove honey, red apple, and lemon flavors. Long, balanced, and very lively. A massive white. Layered and beautiful. Made to age, but who can wait to drink this? *Top 100 Wines of 2008.* (JS)  (3/2008)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A stunningly, rich, concentrated effort, the 2005 may be one of the finest whites Smith Haut-Lafitte has ever produced. It exhibits notes of honeyed oranges, honeysuckle, spring flowers, lemon grass, and melons. Gorgeous acidity, excellent concentration, and a beautiful texture result in an impressive, full-bodied wine to consume over the next two decades. (RP) 95+  (4/2008)

92-94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Pale yellow. Pure aromas of grapefruit, lemon drop, pear and spicy, vanillin oak. Dense and sweet, with lovely floral lift and bright acids leavening the wine's creamy richness. This is wonderfully layered in the middle palate, and finishes with superb palate-staining persistence. 'The same blend as always,' says Florence Cathiard, 'but richer in every respect.' (ST)  (5/2006)

93 points Wine & Spirits

 Clean and pure with beautiful ripeness, this wine's fruit has been concentrated and focused through oak aging, which blunts its full expression until it has long exposure to air (or enough time in bottle). As it opens, the stoniness of the wine develops along with potent flavors of quince and fresh melon. The structure is staunch, almost tannic in its grip, a powerful wine built for the cellar.  (10/2008)

92 points Wine Enthusiast

 Full-bodied, this wine shows really ripe, generous fruit flavors, touched by wood, very round and intense. As an indication of its immaturity, the wood comes through to dominate the fruit. Give it 2-3 years. (RV)  (6/2008)

K&L Notes

94 points Neal Martin's Wine Journal: "Tasted single blind at Southwold. This is closed on the nose with reluctant scents of grapefruit, dried honey and a touch of white peach, but just needing more lift. Good weight on the viscous palate, honey, a touch of marmalade, real weight towards the finish though modest length. Quite spicy and aromatic but it needs time to show its true worth. Patience is needed." (07/2009)

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- A rich, viscous, full-flavored but subtly-scented and botrytis-prone white grape, Sémillon reaches magical heights when infected with "noble rot" and combined with even small amounts of the aromatic and high-acid Sauvignon Blanc to make Sauternes, one of the world's most revered and longest-lived wines, and in the sweet wines of surrounding regions like Barsac. Sémillon's most famous incarnation is in the wines of Château d'Yquem, one of the world's most expensive wines, and one that has been known to evolve for centuries. It frequently dominates, but not by much, in the oak-aged whites of Bordeaux's Graves and Pessac-Léognan, creating honeyed and viscous wines that are unlike any others. Elsewhere in Bordeaux and around France it takes on a supporting role in the wines of Entre-Deux-Mers and the Médoc. While planted throughout France, Europe, California and Washington, Sémillon's role as underling usually keeps it out of the spotlight with a few winery-specific exceptions. However, the grape is allowed to shine in Australia's Hunter Valley, where it is used to make an elegant dry wine often called, perplexingly, Hunter Valley Riesling. It also makes some incredible dry, oaked wines from the Barossa and lovely stickies in the style of Sauternes.


- 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.


Specific Appellation:


- 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.