2017 Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)

SKU #1355661 97 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark Wonderful depth of fruit here with blackberries, wet earth, mushrooms, dark chocolate and violets. Full-bodied, tight and poised with polished and compressed tannins. Consistent finish. Linear and focused. Inner quote mark (1/2020)

97 points Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Smith Haut Lafitte charges out of the gate with bold expressions of warm redcurrants, baked blackberries and crème de cassis with hints of spice cake, dried roses, underbrush and pencil lead plus a waft of candied violets. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has a fantastic core of densely packed red and black fruits, framed by wonderfully ripe, rounded tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and perfumed. (LBP) 97+ Inner quote mark (3/2020)

97 points Vinous

Outer quote mark The 2017 Smith Haut Lafitte is fantastic. Rich, sumptuous and opulent, the 2017 dazzles with total class. Inky blue and purplish fruit, chocolate, licorice, menthol, sage and lavender infuse the 2017 with striking layers of depth and complexity. A wine of tremendous character and balance, the 2017 is flat-out gorgeous and very clearly one of the wines of the year. (AG) Inner quote mark (3/2020)

95-97 points Wine Enthusiast

Outer quote mark Bold tannins and powerful fruits give this perfumed wine concentration and a dense texture. It is rich in pure black fruit-flavors, with bright acidity that will allow for aging. The power and the structure of this wine are impressive, while not losing the crisp fruitiness of the vintage. (RV) Inner quote mark (4/2018)

96 points Jeb Dunnuck

Outer quote mark Moving to the grand vin and a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot aged 16 months in 60% new French oak, the 2017 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte is a beauty, with rocking levels of cassis and red currant fruits interwoven with hints of dried herbs, salty minerality, subtle oak, and crushed violets. Concentrated and full-bodied on the palate, it has ripe tannins, a great mid-palate, and tons of charm and character. This is one of those wines that will be beautiful in just 3-4 years and yet age effortlessly for three decades. Hats off to winemaker Fabien Teitgen for a brilliant effort in the vintage. Inner quote mark (2/2020)

94 points Decanter

Outer quote mark This sits a long way above the second wines this year, and here they are very close to recent successes, with excellent juice running right through the cassis, bilberry, liquorice, dark chocolate and charcoal notes. It's an extremely classical, sculpted vintage with a lovely grilled edge that gives a gourmet, confident feel. It has a velvety texture and finely-placed, flexible tannins that are clearly going to age well. This is a real success, and a testament to their attention to detail - for example, they had 105 pickers in 2016 but 160 pickers in 2017, because with the September rain they wanted to go more quickly. Half of the vineyard is now farmed biodynamically, with full conversion expected for 2020. (JA) Inner quote mark (4/2018)

91-94 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark This has a good core of dark plum and blackberry fruit, with a twinge of licorice snap mixed in. A hint of bramble on the finish, with the vintage’s refined, fresh acidity as well. (JM, Web-2018) Inner quote mark

K&L Notes

94 points Neal Martin for Vinous: "The 2017 Smith Haut Lafitte has an open and expressive bouquet, a mixture of red and black fruit, pressed iris petals mixed with subtle marine notes, iodine and seaweed. It is not as powerful as the 2018 but it is nicely focused. The palate is fresh on the entry with crisp tannins and vibrant black fruit. There is superb energy towards the graphite and mint infused finish. There is a lot of energy in this 2017 that actually renders it quite approachable, though I would prefer to leave bottles down in the cellar for several years." (02/2020)

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Price: $139.99
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By: Ryan Moses | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/20/2018 | Send Email
While some in Pessac struggled in 2017, Smith Haut Lafitte is a triumph in the vintage. Good aromatics of blue and black fruit echo on the palate alongside some french vanilla and a stony minerality. Bright, clean, and deep on the palate, there is mouthcoating, vibrant fruit and slightly drying wood tannin. It has a presence, midpalate, and richness that wasn't found in many of its neighbors. This will be one to follow for the modern-leaning crowd and a relatively accessible example of the vintage. Drink 2022 to 2034.

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