2016 Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)

SKU #1299445 98 points Decanter

 A brilliant wine, one of the best ever at this property. Straight from the first nose you feel an added dimension and aromatic complexity to this bottle. The diversity of flavours tumbles out on the attack, from brambled autumnal fruits to tighter, fresher black cherry and cassis notes. The body is deeply coloured, full of life and pleasure, with rich, deep cassis and high but generous alcohol that's not intrusive but showing through in the smooth texture. It was great En primeur and is even better today. 1% Petit Verdot finishes the blend. (JA)  (12/2018)

98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Composed of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot and matured in 60% new oak for 18 months, the 2016 Smith Haut Lafitte has a very deep garnet-purple color, opening with sensuous scents of warm black cherries, blackberry pie, star anise and fragrant lilacs with hints of chocolate box, cigar box and pencil lead plus wafts of truffles and crushed rocks. Medium to full-bodied, rich and seductive, it completely fills the palate with perfumed black berry preserves and superbly plush tannins, finishing epically long and beautifully layered. (LPB)  (11/2018)

98 points Vinous

 The 2016 Smith Haut Lafitte is flat out stunning. Rich, ample and explosive, the 2016 possesses tremendous energy and tension to play off the wine's dark, rich fruit. I am not sure I have ever tasted a young Smith Haut Lafitte with such extraordinary balance. In 2016, the Grand Vin is tense and pulsing with energy. Hints of lavender, spice, menthol and crème de cassis open up in the glass, but the 2016 stands out for its feel and exceptional harmony. The combined effects of picking a bit early, vinifiying more gently and reducing the impact of oak are having a profound effect at Smith Haut Lafitte. Thinking of some of the highly regarded wines of the last decade here, the 2009 and 2010 in particular, well, the 2016 is on another level. This is magnificent showing from proprietors Florence and Daniel Cathiard, and their team led by Technical Director Fabien Teitgen. (AG)  (1/2019)

96-98 points Wine Enthusiast

 With its dense structure, superb acidity and black currant fruits, this is a great wine from the estate owned by Daniel and Florence Cathiard. A majority old-vine Cabernet Sauvignon (with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) gives the wine the concentration it needs to mature slowly. This elegant wine will be ready to drink after 2032. (RV)  (4/2017)

97 points Jeb Dunnuck

 Moving to the reds, the 2016 Château Smith Haut Lafitte checks in as 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot that spent 18 months in 60% new oak. It’s undeniably a more elegant, reserved style from this estate, yet it still offers full-bodied richness and depth, with a classic perfume of cassis, black currants, cold fireplace, wood smoke, and tobacco. Deep, nicely concentrated, seamless, and, again, incredibly elegant, it’s going to flesh out nicely with short-term cellaring and keep for 20-30 years.  (2/2019)

97 points James Suckling

 The blackcurrant and blueberry aromas are lifted and beautiful. Lots of flowers, too, together with some mushroom and dried-flower undertones. Full-bodied with firm and very silky tannins giving a lovely texture. Bright acidity lifts the finish and gives it drive and force. Better after 2025.  (2/2019)

97 points Wine Spectator

 Quite ripe, with lush waves of cassis, cherry preserve and raspberry puree flavors gliding through in no hurry, but maintaining definition and cut along the way as bramble, tar and melted licorice snap notes slowly emerge throughout. The finish features an intense echo of pastis and sweet tobacco, showing serious latent grip. Best from 2023 through 2038. (JM)  (3/2019)

Jancis Robinson

 Dark crimson with purple rim. The first sniff makes me smile. So inviting in its dusty, pure-fruited fragrance. Fragrant with anticipated pleasure. Exceptional tannic finesse giving an elegant structure for the fresh, lively fruit. Dry, like layers of fine paper. Long and embryonic but all in perfect harmony. Stunning. (JH) 18/20 points  (10/2018)

K&L Notes

97 points Neal Martin for Vinous: "The 2016 Smith Haut Lafitte has a more discreet bouquet than I expected, and it takes a couple of minutes to open in the glass, revealing blackberry, briar, a touch of pressed iris and a wet limestone aroma. There is less tobacco than I expected, and a stonier style. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannin, perhaps the finest I’ve encountered in 20 years of visiting this estate. Very feminine and beautifully structured, and the 60% new oak is seamlessly assimilated. Extremely impressive and beguiling. This will be an irresistible Smith Haut Lafitte that gives 30 to 40 years of drinking pleasure." (01/2019)


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Price: $129.99

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This product is expected to arrive for shipment or pickup by Saturday, November 2, 2019.

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By: Clyde Beffa Jr. | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/1/2017 | Send Email
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The Cathiards have brought Smith from underperforming to Bordeaux superstar in 25 years. They have learned from their earlier vintages and now make surely a second growth quality wine-maybe super second at a good price. The 2015 sold very well, and this is as good. 65% CS for this sexy, somewhat exotic mouthful of pleasure. Full-bodied and quite rich on the palate. Some red roses and cassis shining through on this modern rendition.
Drink from 2020 to 2040

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.
Sub-Region:

Bordeaux

Specific Appellation:

Pessac-Leognan/Graves

- Graves is the large red and white wine region located to the southeast of the city of Bordeaux along the Garonne River. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the red wines from the area, while the whites are mixtures of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The most important area within the Graves is the village of Pessac-Leognan. Most of the great chateaux, including Haut Brion, a premier cru and the only wine outside of the Medoc to be included in the 1855 Classification, are located in this small appellation. Graves derives its name from the rocky, stony terrain of the region. Many people believe that the stony soil radiates the day's heat at night and thus makes the grapes ripen earlier than the other regions in Bordeaux.