Château Smith Haut Lafitte Red 2012 offers a beautiful dark bright red colour with blue hue. The already expressive nose reveals very fresh notes of red fruits (strawberry, cherry) with a hint of smoke. Once aerated, the nose complexity appears with delicate notes of spices (star anise, liquorice, cinnamon), of red fruits as well as beautiful and elegant flower notes. Then the nose stretches out with terroir aromas of flint stone and fireplace. The attack in mouth is fresh and balanced with a fleshy and unctuous texture. The wine is a subtle balance between maturity and freshness: the maturity from the concentration, the impressive unctuosity and sugarity and the beautiful structure of long and classy tannins; the freshness from the tension, the dynamism and the aroma sparkle.
Each Château has its own style.
What would be, according to you, the specificities of Château Smith Haut Lafitte Red?
The style of our red wine is very classic, with a beautiful expression of our terroir of Günzian Gravel which gives unique smoky notes. We pursue elegance and structure, freshness and complexity, balance and richness.
Our majority of Cabernet Sauvignon, harvested at full maturity and softly vinified to extract only the silkiest tannins, unveils after proper aging its full potential for years long.
The other grapes variety of our vineyard, the Merlot, the Cabernet Franc and the Petit Verdot add to the Cabernet Sauvignon their own aromas and participate in the typical harmony of our Cru Classé de Graves.
Which vintage of your Château red wine do you prefer?
Such as the whites, it is very difficult to pick a vintage among others, as every occasion and every meal will enlighten a specific vintage.
In my opinion, our 2000 red is a wine I would not doubt in comparing with the greatest reds from both banks. It has everything, except maybe some more years…
Another vintage we particularly cherish is the 2003, because despite the heatwave that affected the region, our early terroir allows us to harvest grapes at perfect maturity before they “cook” over the sun. Therefore we have a charming wine, whose freshness of aromas trouble the tasters at every blind tasting.
However I must say that we reached the zenith of our great reds with two legendary vintages: 2009 and 2010, though these two vintages have very little in common! 2009, my favorite, is powerful, charming, round and very “charismatic”… 2010, my husband’s favorite, is a beautiful classic, that expresses perfectly our Gravel terroir, with notes of black fruits, mineral finish and incredible Caudalies (the unit that measures length of wine flavors in mouth).
It seems your 2011 red is fantastic. Could you tell us more about this wine?
The year of the winegrower
The serious harvest started on September the 15th with the Merlot on the Günzian Gravel plateau at Smith Haut Lafitte. We harvested, early this same week, the younger vines, where the deliciously fruity grapes were perfectly ripe.
Following the heatwave in late June, some of the bunches had started ripening unevenly and a few grapes had not fully changed colour. Due to their poor quality potential, these small grapes were eliminated, one by one, by our optical sorting system, thus ensuring that the grapes to be pressed were evenly ripe, which is essential to extract high-quality tannins.
We are used to low yields, and 2011 is no exception to the rule!
More than any other year, we played on the alliance between nature and science: our philosophy of Bio Precision.
Satellite analysis of the vines' vegetative growth combined with a detailed resistivity survey (every 50 cm) of our soils and subsoils made it possible to harvest according to subtle variations in our terroir, rather than plot by plot.
The use of compost and our organic vineyard management approach strengthened the vines' resistance to disease. For example, short pruning and small numbers of well-ventilated bunches minimised the effects of severe attacks of Botrytis.
The result is a 2011 vintage of great complexity, structure, length, balance and a unique aromatic profile: a very “Classic Bordeaux”.
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