2018 Chateau Smith-Haut-Lafitte

Year: 2018
Appellation: Pessac-Leognan
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 95-98
Wine Advocate: 97-99+
Vinous Media: 90-93
James Suckling: 98-99
Jeb Dunnuck: 97-100--Wine Enthusiast: 95-97--Jeff Leve: 97-99
Red Wine

Futures
DUE IN: SUMMER 2021

Price :
$115.00

THERE IS A THREE BOTTLE MIN. OF BRAND ON ALL FUTURES ORDERS!

"Ripe and lush, with delicious waves of plum, blackberry and black currant preserve flavors laced with subtle charcoal, tobacco and licorice notes. There's a long flow through the finish. Beautifully rendered, capturing the ripeness of the vintage in spades without being heady at all.—J.M." (WS)

"Composed of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot aging in 60% new barriques, the very deep purple-black colored 2018 Smith Haut Lafitte is a little shy to begin. With coaxing, it very slowly unfurls to reveal a heart-stopping perfume of violets, red roses, kirsch, black cherries and redcurrant jelly, before giving way to a profound core of warm blackcurrants, blackberry preserves, molten licorice and cinnamon stick with nuances of dried mint, orange blossoms (yes!) and cloves. Full-bodied, the fruit does veritable pirouettes on your palate, both elegant and powerful in its expression, coating the mouth with densely packed red and black fruits while revealing tons of mineral, floral and savory sparks, framed by exquisitely fine-grained tannins and bold freshness, finishing very long.

“2018 was quite a difficult year because of the wetness, wetness, wetness,” Smith Haut Lafitte’s winemaker Fabien Teitgen sighed. “We are organic growers, so we lost a bit to mildew. May to mid-June, it was very depressing. But the abrupt change in the weather was amazing. The very dry, sunny conditions gave fantastic evolution of the grapes. The berries were very fresh and fruity with thick skins."

"We are very focused on the sorting," Teitgen continued. "We pick by hand, do an initial sorting using a vibrating table and then finish the sorting by hand. There was more work to be done on sorting the Merlot. We used no stems this year. We had enough tannin in the skins this year, so we didn’t use the stems. Then, we had to take great care with the extraction. We just focused on extracting the round tannins, none of the harsh tannins. We had to stop fermentation as soon as we detected any bitterness.”

Average yields for the vintage were 21 hectoliters per hectare for the reds and 28 hectoliters per hectare for the whites. Tiny quantities, but the wines—and the grand vin in particular—are simply stunning." (WA)

"The 2018 Smith Haut Lafitte is powerful, dense and also tightly wound. There is good depth to the red cherry and plum fruit, but the 2018 comes across as not fully put together. It will be interesting to see what élevage does, but today, the Grand Vin, while good, is not especially thrilling. The tannins need time to soften, and the wine just needs time to find its center. I found the 2018 very challenging to taste on two separate occasions." (VM)

"This is incredibly complex with hazelnut, currant, berry and dried-flower character. The impression of a vat of fermenting cabernet. Full body, round and juicy tannins and a long, soft and silky finish. Shows the essence of the fruit here. Fascinating. Layered and complex." (JS)

"Checking in as 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot brought up in 60% new French oak, the 2018 Château Smith Haut Lafitte reveals a saturated purple color as well as rock star notes of crème de cassis, blueberries, graphite, crushed rocks, and spice. Deep, profoundly concentrated, beautifully seamless and textured on the palate, it reminds me of the 2009 with its opulent, powerful style. It's a brilliant wine from this terrific estate and up with the top wines in the vintage. Hats off to director Fabien Teitgen who continues to make an elegant yet powerful, uncompromising style of wine." (JD)

"95–97. Barrel Sample. This is a finely structured, impressive wine that displays bold tannins and a streak of freshness. This shows great balance between its bold structure and rich fruit. Its tannins are the sign of its aging potential." (WE)

"Opaque in color, just one look tells you this is going to exciting to taste. Licorice, smoke, barbecue, burning campfire embers and black fruits might be the first thing you notic but it is the palate, coated by the layers of sensuous, pure, ripe, velvet textured fruit that really rocks. The wine is creamy, juicy and even with all that fruit -- fresh! The finish must last at least 60 seconds as it moves back and forth from red fruit to black fruit several times. There is serious competition for the best vintage ever from Smith Haut Lafitte, as there have been so many great vintages here but clearly 2018 is in contention for the top title. The wine was made from a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, reaching 14.25% alcohol with a pH of 3.7. The harvest took place August 24-September 17, which is quite early for Smith Haut Lafitte. 2018 is a low yield vintage here at only 21 hectoliters per hectare due to hail and issues with mildew. " (JL)