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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.
Weather conditions / The 2000 vintage was proclaimed from the start as one of the best vintages of modern times. In the spring of 2003, I had many opportunities to find out if we really had a true dream vintage on our hands.
During the 2000 harvest, while doing a “personal inspection” in the vineyards, I noticed that something extraordinary was on the way. The grapes looked extremely healthy.
While the sorting table was rolling, I observed that there were few leaves, stems and weeds among the grapes. This is why sorting the grapes was so easy and quick. This must be one of the characteristics of the 2000 vintage, because normally even great vintages require a lot of work at the sorting table.
The 2000 vintage is a classic, extravagant and extremely long Bordeaux with dark and extremely dense wines, which have a huge concentration of fruit, length and superbly concentrated tannins. The tannin is not allowed to dominate, as it is well enveloped by the fruit. A scent of under-ripeness is only present in a few wines. One of the hallmarks of this vintage is an intense, deep aroma of dark berries, such as blueberries, blackberries and black cherries.
All red grape varieties have reached perfect maturity, including Bordeaux's most temperamental and unruly grape variety, Petit Verdot. Petit Verdot brings to wines the long-awaited addition of backbone and power.
Additionally, the grapes for whites, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle, ripened perfectly and produced extremely fine dry white wines. The sweet white wines have unfortunately transformed into some light, elegant and charming wines, based 100% on the September harvest. From October 11, it rained a lot in Bordeaux and this continued until the end of the year.