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Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Leognan Grand Cru 2020 (Pre-Arrival)  - First Bottle


100 Jeb Dunnuck -
Absolutely pure gold and reminding me of the 2009 (or is it the 2010?), the 2020 Château Smith Haut Lafitte sports a dense purple hue to go with incredible aromatics of blackberries, blueberries, scorched earth, wood smoke, and acacia flowers. One of the most concentrated, rich, and sexy wines in the vintage, this massive and extraordinarily opulent 2020 shows the vintage's pure, elegant profile yet backs it up with sensational levels of fruit and texture. Based on 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it already offers pleasure given its wealth of fruit, but it deserves 7-8 years of bottle age and will evolve for 40-50 years. Not enough can be said about the quality of these wines. Bravo to Florence and Daniel Cathiard, as well as to director Fabien Teitgen, for another incredible achievement.
99 James Suckling -
Extremely fresh and deep in the nose with raspberry and blackcurrant character, as well as stone, fresh green tobacco and ink. Full-bodied with a dense center palate and gorgeous fine yet steely tannins. It calms down at the end with berries, citrus and some lavender. Salty at the end. Very minerally. Flinty.
98 Decanter -
Vivid dark purple in the glass, but a remarkable clarity too. Fragrant black cherries, plums, cassis and perfumed aromas with blueberries, balsamic touches and white pepper. Rich, round, grippy and captivating, slightly plush but also tight, where you get a soft chalky, wet stone grip with lively acidity balanced by strict and spiced liquorice-touched fruit. You feel the leanness here but it's so well defined with clarity and precision. A sleeping giant right now, definitely not yet fully expressing itself but slowly grows to a long finish. There's something so utterly seductive about this wine, it's overt, forward, upfront, confident and powerful no doubt, this will need a while before it should be opened, but it’s a shining thoroughbred. Refined and purposeful. There’s a bit of magic in this bottle.
98 The Wine Independent -
The 2020 Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple in color, it storms out of the glass with powerful scents of creme de cassis, wild blueberries, and redcurrant preserves, followed by suggestions of cedar chest, charcuterie, cast-iron pan, and black truffles, with a touch of menthol. The full-bodied palate is densely laden with black fruit layers offset by mineral and red berry accents, supported by firm, grainy tannins and plenty of freshness, finishing long and earthy.
97 Vinous -
The 2020 Smith Haut Lafitte is every bit as captivating as it was from barrel. Ample, rich and explosive, the 2020 offers up an exciting mélange of dark fruit, chocolate, spice, gravel, leather and dried herbs, with a touch of new oak that adds raciness. This towering, vertical Smith Haut-Lafitte won't be ready to drink for a number of years, but it is super impressive. Even with all of its intensity, the 2020 retains terrific freshness and energy. (AG)

Technical Details

  • Blend65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot
  • WinemakerFabien Teitgen
  • CountryFrance
  • RegionBordeaux
  • AppellationPessac-Leognan
  • Farming MethodOrganic
  • OakFrench oak (60% new oak).
  • Harvest DateSeptember 9th to the 30th, 2020

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Leognan Grand Cru 2020 (Pre-Arrival)

Bordeaux Blends  |  France
JD100, JS99, DC98, TWI98, JA97, VN97, WA95+, WS95,

22% off retail!
Hurry! Only 3 Left!

Arriving Spring 2024! Smith Haut Lafitte has been planted to vine since the 1300s, considered by many critics to be the “archetypical Graves” estate. This 100 point 2020 Grand Vin is an icon in the making, snagging #6 on Jeb Dunnuck’s Top 100 of 2023 list (and being the only 100 pointer in his Top 10!) – we scored exactly 10 cases...don’t blink!

For nearly 700 years, Smith Haut Lafitte has thrived in Pessac Leognan – and one of Bordeaux’s revered Grand Crus since the classification of Graves in 1953. Vines have been planted here on the lofty, gravelly Lafitte plateau since 1365, with the surname of Scottish owner, George Smith, added to complete the name during his ownership in the 18th century. Today, it is Daniel and Florence Cathiard at the helm of this historic estate. When they purchased it in the 90s, a number of refurbishments came with them – a focus on organic and biodynamic farming, a return to hand-harvested vineyards, the creation of two new underground cellars, building a cooperage on-site, and the restoration of the 16th-century tower and 18th-century manor home on the estate. A considerable investment – but the quality of wines has skyrocketed and the reputation of this estate has never been higher.

Of particular note, is the rise in quality of the cabernet sauvignon on the estate, and the coinciding increase of it in the final blend of the Grand Vin over the past several years. This 2020 has a final blend of 65% cabernet sauvignon, 35% merlot, 4% cabernet franc, and 1% petit verdot – and it is pulsing with flavor! Galloni says it’s “Ample, rich and explosive...” while Dunnuck calls it “Absolutely pure gold” and “One of the most concentrated, rich, and sexy wines in the vintage...” – they’re both dead on the money, of course, this is a simply marvelous and utterly captivating Bordeaux that demands the attention of any collector. Hurry up and wait is the prescription here...act fast to make a few of these rare gems yours, and then wait a couple years (or more if you’re so inclined) to let this youthful beauty of a wine really strut its stuff! Only 10 cases of this...and guaranteed to FLY!

PAIRING IDEAS: Likely, in a few years time, this will still demand a juicy, over-the-top Cowboy Ribeye or Tomahawk steak. But if you decide to open it sooner – have it all on its own, with worthy company after a rich and hearty dinner – just before you adjourn to the porch for a cigar and nightcap of whiskey. If you live close to Napa, definitely invite me too!

About the Producer

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte has a long history in Bordeaux, dating back over 800 years. The estate started out as part of the Du Boscq holdings in the Graves region. It was Du Boscq who first planted vines in 1365 on a gravelly plateau called "Lafitte". This is of course where part of the famous chateau took its name from. Today, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte is owned and managed by Daniel Cathiard and Florence Cathiard (who just very recently purchased Flora Springs here in Napa as well). The winery actually has its own cooperage on site where is makes all of its barrels by hand and no expense is spared anywhere. The wines have been getting HUGE critical acclaim and we can say without question that the wines are better than ever! It MUST be taken into account: the pricing of this Chateau comparatively is simply irresistible at this level of quality.