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98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
This is an extraordinary performance once again from the Cathiard family, the proprietors of Smith-Haut-Lafitte. They think the 2010 is even better than the 2009. (I disagree, but only slightly.) This wine has laser-like definition in its an remarkable nose of a subtle charcoal fire interwoven with spring flowers, creme de cassis, blueberry liqueur and spicy wood. Full-bodied, stunningly concentrated, long, rich and moderately tannic, this wine is set for an exceptionally long life of 30-40 years but can be drunk in 5-7. (RP) (2/2013)
96 points Wine Enthusiast
*Cellar Selection* A beautifully ripe wine with great black fruits that burst through the classic tannins. In its richness and in its structure, it combines the best of the vintage. Dark, complex, fruity and very rich, a magnificent wine for long-term aging. (RV) (3/2013)
96 points Wine Spectator
Gorgeous, with alluring black tea and warm ganache notes that unfurl slowly, while the core of intense steeped plum, anise, blackberry compote and black currant confiture sits patiently in reserve. The beautiful loam-, tobacco- and tar-filled finish displays major heft, but also remarkable polish and grace. Should age very slowly. (JM) (3/2013)
95 points James Suckling
Aromas of blueberries, blackberries and plums follow through to a full body, with velvety tannins and a fruity finish. Lots of mushroom and fruit undertones. Very polished. Such finesse yet structure to this young wine. (11/2013)
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 2010 vintage will be remembered for: a sum of summer temperatures similar to 2009 (962°C as compared to 982°C), but much cooler than in 2005 (1052°C) and Rainfall was low from March to August 2010 (267mm), a dryness comparable to 2005 (227mm).
This was ideal for full ripening, while retaining the acidity typical of great Bordeaux vintages. The dry weather brought about an early stop to vine growth, and thus paved the way for a long, slow ripening period. The tannin had all the time it needed for total maturity. Red stems and brown crunchy seeds were sure signs of great phenolic maturity! Thanks to satellite photos of our vineyards we were able to produce a new detailed map of the estate, and were thus even more efficient in picking at the opportune moment, and therefore fine-tuning winemaking. The harvest began on 29 September in plots of young Merlot vines and finished on 22 October with Cabernet Franc
2010 Smith Haut Lafitte rouge is a deep, concentrated, nearly black colour. The bouquet displays a range of red and black fruit aromas, as well as ones reminiscent of spice and warm herbs. With aeration, the wine reveals magnificent black fruit, liquorice, clove, and graphite nuances...The wine starts out firm and straightforward on the palate. It is huge, but in no way austere. Its power comes through in a full-bodied flavour profile with a long aftertaste. The tannin is rich and silky, and the texture is well-defined thanks to ripe tannin and a careful control during extraction. The wine has an extremely well-focused structure and taste. The long aftertaste of liquorice, red fruit, and black fruit also features more subtle underlying flavours of hot stones and warm earth. This 2010 Smith Haut Lafitte rouge is undoubtedly one of the finest wines the estate has ever made.
Drought and cool temperatures contribute to optimal ripeness
The sum of summer temperatures in 2010 was close to that of summer 2009 (962°C compared to 982°C), but decidedly chillier than those of 2005, which totalled 1052°C. These cool temperatures had a substantial influence on the balance of our wines, preserving a good level of acidity and attractive aromatic freshness.
Very little rainfall (only 267 mm) from March to August 2010 generating a drought of similar intensity to that of 2005, when only 227mm of rain fell.
Another feature of the 2010 vintage is the low temperatures above all in the first three weeks of August, which made for the preservation of good levels of acidity in the grapes while also maintaining attractive aromatic freshness.