Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge 2016

Graves, Grand Cru Classé

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12 Bottle (75cl) Case 12 £930 per Case Case [Add to shopping basket]
Tasting Notes

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.

Score: 97

Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2026-2066 01 January 2019

The 2016 Smith-Haut-Lafitte is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot that was picked between 29 September and 19 October at 35 hectoliters per hectare. It is being matured in 60% new oak for a total of 18 months. "We have never been so proud of our Cabernet Sauvignon," winemaker Fabien Tietgen told me. Now, this has a much subtler bouquet than recent vintages, you could argue, more intellectual than the 2015 Smith-Haut-Lafitte. First there are aromas of blackberry, briary and just a hint of iodine, then underneath that, marine-like aromas such as freshly shucked oyster shells, pressed flowers and a touch of brown spice. There is wonderful delineation here. The palate is medium-bodied with plenty of tightly-wound black fruit, intermingling with smoke, black pepper, spice box and a touch of bay leaf. This is an extremely precise Smith-Haut-Lafitte, certainly a cerebral 2016 that might well be approachable young, yet will certainly age in consummate style. The château's own tasting note reads "What more could one possibly want from a wine?" The answer to that is: "Another bottle."

Score: 96 - 98

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2023-2050 28 April 2017

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.

Score: 98

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2024-2046 01 January 2019

The 2016 Smith Haut Lafitte is fabulous. Subtle, nuanced and classy, it speaks to finesse more than power. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. Gracious and light on its feet, the 2016 possesses exceptional balance and class, with captivating freshness and energy that gives lift to the dark red/purplish-hued fruit. There is much to like here.

Score: 94 - 97

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com 25 April 2017

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.

Score: 98

Lisa Perotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2023-2046 30 November 2018

This is gorgeous, extremely ripe, tight, fresh and rich. It has clear, deep tannins and a thrilling tension that slices right through the ripe, autumnal fruit and teases out the finish. There are true layers to the wine, with flavours of cassis, liquorice and charcoal, demonstrating a reserved power that keeps on delivering. The tannin count is at a full 100IPT, a touch higher than in 2010 but they just float along, offering the perfect resistance and interest in your mouth. Technical director Fabien Teitgen used 10% stems in the vinification for 2016, utilising organic winemaking methods. The blend is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet franc and 1% Petit Verdot, aged in 60% new oak barrels. 3.6pH.

Score: 97

Decanter Maturity: 2027-2050 25 April 2017

Blackish crimson. Nose that manages to combine flesh and ripeness with freshness. Some restraint here and some very natural flavours. A quiet king. Great appetising wine with the ripeness of the vintage. Very classy.

Score: 17 - 18

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com Maturity: 2024-2042 21 April 2017

Aromatic with currants and blackberries, smokiness and pencil shavings. On the palate it is broad and mouthfilling with weighty black fruits overlaid with minerals notes. Very fine and elegant with a long, transparent, vivid black fruit finish. One of the best Smiths ever.

Score: 95 - 98

Albany Vintners 19 April 2017

Seductively fleshy and creamy in feel, with alluring dark plum and fig notes laced with singed bay, black tea and dark earth hints. The broad finish has the grip and cut for definition. A beautiful wine in the making.

Score: 95 - 98

James Molesworth, Wine Spectator 06 April 2017

Wow. This is incredibly rich and exotic. Full-bodied, so deep and long. It lasts for minutes. Perfectly polished tannins evidence how texturally focused and supple this is. Decadent and enticing. From organically grown grapes. Super quality of cabernet is on show here. We will see if 2016 is better than 2015.

Score: 97 - 98

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com 04 April 2017