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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).
At Château Smith Haut Lafitte, we implement the traditional viticulture techniques such as earthing-up the vines or horse ploughing of the fragile and sharp plots of white vine. We totally banished any chemical product and favor organic methods to fight against the various dangers that threaten the vine: mating confusion of the grape berries moths with pheromones, use of the typhlodromus mites which are the natural predators of the red spider mites and prevention of the grey rot thanks to the bacillus subtilis that naturally prevents the development of the botrytis, among other processes.
We enhance the vine growing cycle with organic compost made of vine shots left over from pruning, grape pomace and manure from cows and horses. This natural fertilization system improves soils living quality. We strengthen as well the fauna diversity of the vineyard through a hedge plantation program of more than 500 meters per year and the implementation of several beehives.
BORDEAUX 2000 – A DREAM VINTAGE
Weather conditions / Vintage 2000 has from the very start been proclaimed as one of the best vintages of modern times. In spring 2003, I've had many opportunities to find out, if we really have a true dream vintage in our hands.
During harvest 2000, while doing "personal inspection" in the vineyards, I noticed that something extraordinary big was on its way. Grapes looked extremely healthy.
While sorting table was rolling, I observed, that there were few leaves, stalks and weeds among the grapes. That's why sorting out grapes went so easy and quick. It must be one of hallmarks of 2000 vintage, because normally even the great vintages require a lot of work at sorting table.
2000 vintage is classic, extravagant and extremely long-lived Bordeaux with dark, extremely dense wines, which have enormous concentration of fruit, length and superbly concentrated tannin. The tannin is not allowed to dominate, because it's well wrapped up by fruit. A scent of sub-maturity is only present in few wines. One of this vintage's trademarks is an intense and deep aroma of dark berries, like blueberries, blackberries and black cherries.
All red grape varieties reached perfect maturity, including Bordeaux' most capricious and unruly grape variety, Petit Verdot. Petit Verdot gives the much meeded contribution of backbone and power to the wines.
Also the grapes for whites, like Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle, did ripe perfectly and produced tremendously fine dry white wines. Sweet white wines turned unfortunately to be a few light, elegant and charming wines, which were based 100% on September pickings. Beginning on the 11th October, it rained heavily in Bordeaux and it continued until the end of the year.