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Each Château has its own style. / What would be, according to you, the specificities of Château Smith Haut Lafitte Red?
The style of our red wine is very classic, with a beautiful expression of our terroir of Günzian Gravel which gives unique smoky notes. We pursue elegance and structure, freshness and complexity, balance and richness.
Our majority of Cabernet Sauvignon, harvested at full maturity and softly vinified to extract only the silkiest tannins, unveils after proper aging its full potential for years long.
The other grapes variety of our vineyard, the Merlot, the Cabernet Franc and the Petit Verdot add to the Cabernet Sauvignon their own aromas and participate in the typical harmony of our Cru Classé de Graves.
Which vintage of your Château red wine do you prefer?
Such as the whites, it is very difficult to pick a vintage among others, as every occasion and every meal will enlighten a specific vintage.
In my opinion, our 2000 red is a wine I would not doubt in comparing with the greatest reds from both banks. It has everything, except maybe some more years…
Another vintage we particularly cherish is the 2003, because despite the heatwave that affected the region, our early terroir allows us to harvest grapes at perfect maturity before they “cook” over the sun. Therefore we have a charming wine, whose freshness of aromas trouble the tasters at every blind tasting.
However I must say that we reached the zenith of our great reds with two legendary vintages: 2009 and 2010, though these two vintages have very little in common! 2009, my favorite, is powerful, charming, round and very “charismatic”… 2010, my husband’s favorite, is a beautiful classic, that expresses perfectly our Gravel terroir, with notes of black fruits, mineral finish and incredible Caudalies (the unit that measures length of wine flavors in mouth).
The noble Bosq family started growing grapes here as early as 1365. The property was purchased in the 18th century by Scotsman George Smith, who gave the estate its present name. He also built the manor house and exported his – by now famous – wine to England on his own ships.
In 1842, Mr. Duffour-Dubergier, Mayor of Bordeaux and an enthusiastic winegrower, inherited Château Smith Haut Lafitte from his mother and brought the wine up to great growth status.
Impressed by Smith Haut Lafitte's excellent quality, the Louis Eschenauer company distributed the wine all over the world starting in the early 20th century, deciding to buy the estate in 1958. After the Eschenaueur period came to an end, a great deal of money has been invested in the estate, particularly on the construction of a superb underground cellar holding over 1,000 barrels.
In 1990, Daniel Cathiard fell in love with the property and joined the list of prestigious owners, firmly intending to further enhance Smith Haut Lafitte's tradition of excellence. He combined the most modern winemaking techniques and age-old methods: organic compost, small wooden vats, ageing on the lees in barrel, etc.
Famous around the world for its wonderfully elegant red wine and the sophisticated bouquet of its white wine, Smith Haut Lafitte undoubtedly deserves the special care that is lavished on it.
Bordeaux 1981 /The small but high quality vintage of 1981 was overshadowed by the superb 1982. Hot, dry weather began from flowering and continued until September, when occasional rains occurred until until the harvest is completed in good conditions at the beginning of October. Generally speaking, the reds produced were elegant, moderately light and delicate wines in all appellations. The dry whites were of average quality and Sauternes was actually better than the following year 1982. Although this year is often considered modest, some good wines emerged. These include Margaux and Cheval Blanc.
The Bordeaux 1981 wine vintage received mixed reviews from the wine press and critics. It was a year characterized by variable weather conditions and uneven ripening, leading to wines of varying quality across different appellations and producers.
Variable Quality: One of the prevailing themes in reviews of Bordeaux 1981 was the highly variable quality of the wines. Some estates and appellations managed to produce wines of charm and balance, while others struggled with underripe grapes and less favorable conditions.
Tannic Structure: Many Bordeaux 1981 wines were noted for their tannic structure. The tannins were sometimes described as firm or astringent, suggesting that some wines would require extended aging to soften and develop complexity.
Early Drinking: While some Bordeaux 1981 wines were considered suitable for aging, others were recommended for earlier consumption. Critics often pointed out that certain wines were more approachable and enjoyable in their youth, with fruit-forward profiles.
Elegance and Finesse: Despite the challenges of the vintage, some Bordeaux 1981 wines were praised for their elegance and finesse. These wines were often seen as examples of the winemaker's skill in a challenging year.
Right Bank vs. Left Bank: There were distinctions between the wines of the Right Bank (Saint-Émilion and Pomerol) and the Left Bank (Medoc, Pauillac, etc.). Generally, the Right Bank wines were regarded as having performed better in 1981, with more consistent ripeness and structure.
Notable Producers: Certain Bordeaux estates and producers were highlighted for their success in the vintage. These wines were often considered benchmarks for Bordeaux 1981.
Aging Potential: While some Bordeaux 1981 wines were viewed as having the potential to age gracefully and improve with time, others were seen as wines best consumed in their prime to capture their youthful fruitfulness.
Overall Assessment: The general consensus was that Bordeaux 1981 was not a standout vintage on par with some of the region's legendary years. However, it was also not a uniformly poor vintage; there were good wines to be found for those who selected carefully.