Château Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge 2017

Bordeaux
Photo
Awaiting Release

93-95 Points - Jeb Dunnuck

The 2017 Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte checks in as 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, fermented in oak tanks and aging in 60% new French barrels. It has a fresher, more lively style than normal but shows a beautiful purity and clarity in its crème de cassis, graphite, spring flower, and gravelly mineral-like aromas and flavors. Its acidity is nicely integrated, it has fine, ripe tannin, and a balanced style that’s going to evolve nicely. It’s certainly a terrific wine from winemaker and director Fabien Teitgen.

Antonio Galloni

Score: 94-97

The 2017 Smith Haut Lafitte is easily one of the highlights of the vintage. Dense, unctuous and impeccably balanced, the 2017 exudes depth from start to finish. Charcoal embers, graphite, menthol, licorice and sage add myriad shades of nuance to the plush, unctuous dark raspberry jam fruit. This is a super impressive showing from Smith Haut Lafitte. I tasted the 2017 two times. On both occasions, the wine showed tremendous aromatic and flavor depth.

Antonio Galloni

Decanter

Score: 94

This sits a long way above the second wines this year, and here they are very close to recent successes, with excellent juice running right through the cassis, bilberry, liquorice, dark chocolate and charcoal notes. It's an extremely classical, sculpted vintage with a lovely grilled edge that gives a gourmet, confident feel. It has a velvety texture and finely-placed, flexible tannins that are clearly going to age well. This is a real success, and a testament to their attention to detail - for example, they had 105 pickers in 2016 but 160 pickers in 2017, because with the September rain they wanted to go more quickly. Half of the vineyard is now farmed biodynamically, with full conversion expected for 2020. 60% new oak. 1% Petit Verdot completes the blend given.

Decanter

James Suckling

Score: 95-96

This is a solid Smith for the vintage with blackberry and blackcurrant character. Full to medium body, firm and silky tannins and a lingering finish. Excellent potential here.

James Suckling

Jeb Dunnuck

Score: 93-95

The 2017 Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte checks in as 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, fermented in oak tanks and aging in 60% new French barrels. It has a fresher, more lively style than normal but shows a beautiful purity and clarity in its crème de cassis, graphite, spring flower, and gravelly mineral-like aromas and flavors. Its acidity is nicely integrated, it has fine, ripe tannin, and a balanced style that’s going to evolve nicely. It’s certainly a terrific wine from winemaker and director Fabien Teitgen.

Jeb Dunnuck

Julia Harding MW

Score: 17

Smells sweet-fruited and sweetly oaky. Lovely fruit flavour on the palate – dark-red fruit – could perhaps do with just a little more fruit stuffing in the middle but this may just need a bit longer in barrel. Finishes fresh and the tannins are dry and refined. A sleeping beauty perhaps?

Julia Harding MW

Lisa Perrotti-Brown

Score: 94-96

A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Smith Haut Lafitte opens slowly to reveal complex notes of crushed black cherries, black currants and wild blueberries with touches of lavender, pencil lead, cast iron pan and a waft of aniseed. Medium-bodied and elegant with great freshness and quiet intensity, it has firm, grainy tannins and a sustained yet ethereal mid-palate, with a long, energetic, mineral-laced finish.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown

Neal Martin

Score: 93-95

The 2017 Smith Haut Lafitte was not affected by frost and is therefore a classic blend matured in 60% new oak. The bouquet demands a little encouragement from the glass this year, eventually opening with floral scents, more iris than violet, flanked by blackberry and bilberry. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin that comes across just a little chalky in style. This feels very cohesive and comes replete with a detailed and nuanced finish that might lack the flair and volume of the 2016, but it is certainly sustained and persistent. Give this four to five years in bottle and subject to optimal barrel maturation this may well land at the top of my banded score

Neal Martin