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  • Country ranking ?

    437
  • Producer ranking ?

    13
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    from 2025
  • Food Pairing

    roasted Beets with Goat Cheese

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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The Story

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).

 

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Wine Information

The mild, rainy winter favoured early bud break in early March. The rise in temperatures in April allowed the vines to grow. A rainy episode in early May triggered mildew pressure, which was subdued by the work of the vineyard teams. The development of the vine (flowering, veraison) was rapid and homogeneous. The summer conditions, marked by heat and drought, caused water stress at the end of July. The harvest, which began on August 20 for the whites and on September 9 for the reds, was among the earliest in the history of the property. The ripe red grapes produced were dense and consistent in quality. Small in size, the berries displayed a thick skin, rich in concentrated tannins and boasting a lovely aromatic freshness.

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Vintage 2020

In Bordeaux, the heat resulted in early flowering. Also, this led to an early harvest after a very hot summer. As a starting point, there is great maturity in the grapes, and one can expect a more opulent vintage than in the last few years.

The summer this year has been the warmest since 1959, yet the rain has fallen at the right times during the growing season. The harvest took place two weeks before the norm and will yield grapes with high potential alcohol and the lowest acidity since the 2003 vintage. As they say in Bordeaux: "It has been a good and extreme growing season which hopefully also produces great wines".

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot aging in 60% new barriques, the very deep purple-black colored 2020 Smith Haut Lafitte makes an impactful entrance, opening with flamboyant notes of blackcurrant pastilles, chocolate-covered cherries and molten licorice, leading to nuances of ground cloves, woodsmoke, crushed rocks and dusty soil. The medium to full-bodied palate bursts with opulent black fruit preserves and shimmering mineral sparks, framed by exquisitely ripe and fantastically firm tannins and seamless freshness, finishing with epically long-lasting earthy and savory layers. This is the singular voice of Smith Haut Lafitte at its finest, and wow-oh-wow is it worth a listen. This 2020 has an alcohol of 14.5% with a pH of 3.65. The tannins this year were a little higher than 2018 and 2019. A little less than a third of production went into this grand vin.

“The first part of the year was aquatic,” commented Winemaker Fabien Teitgen. “The vines began to grow very early, on March 8th. But after we had good flowering. There was some mildew, but there was not too much damage. Because we are organic and biodynamic, we can only use very little copper mixed with plant infusions. This is the phytotherapy part of biodynamics. We try lots of things and we keep what works. When you are certified, you have to work very fast, even on Saturday and Sunday. Our workers live close by and are very dedicated. "We were not so much impacted by the drought. It’s true, the summer was very dry. But the first part of the year gave water to store in our deep clays. The second part of the year was very sunny and warm. Even where our clay is five to six meters down, this gave us the ability to continue the ripening process. We have an early terroir with this storage of water. We ended harvest before the end of September. "The Cabernet berries were very small—we would have liked to have had a little more juice. By the time we were picking the Cabernet, the rains came. There was no bursting (of berries) for us. The timing of the water was good. Then, we had to be very careful with the extraction—there was a lot of tannin. So, we did much less pigéage. There is no press wine in the blend this year. "It was really a great pleasure to do this vintage. The grapes were very expressive straightaway of the wines. The aromas in the winery were incredible.” It is clear from tasting the range of wines from Smith Haut Lafitte that they were indeed situated in a sweet-spot location and possessing just the right sort of terroir to hit the absolute heights of greatness this vintage has to offer, with all the hurdles skillfully managed by Teitgen and his team. These wines are truly breathtaking. Bravo! 98-100p

  • 100p

Full bottle 1,355 g. Cask sample taken 22 April. Harvest started as early as 9 September until 30 September. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot. 60% new barriques. Pioneer of biodynamics and sustainability in Bordeaux.
Mid crimson. Nuanced, complex nose suggests masses of ripeness and intense aromas. Interesting dried-bay-leaves note on the nose followed by some slight leafiness. Rich, polished palate – structured juiciness. Then pretty dry on the finish – not quite as luscious on the palate as the nose suggests. Masses of sandy-textured tannins on the finish. Will need lots of time.

  • 90.5p

Dark purple colour with violet hue and black core. Excellent and expressive nose with very typical character, intense fruit, blackcurrants, mulberries, elderberries and ripe plums, black cherries and very elegant flowery components in the background, well integrated and fine oak. ON the palate juicy fruit, ripe and almost silky tannins, a very noble bitterness reminiscent of a dark Peruvian chocolate of 80%, almost salty minerality in the aftertaste. A great character with excellent length.

  • 98p
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Information

Origin

Martillac, Bordeaux

Highlights

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