Region, Subregion, Country:
Château Smith Haut Lafitte is located in Pessac-Léognan on the left bank of the west tributary of the Gironde River. During the 1959 Classification of the Graves it was classified as Grand Cru Classé, putting Smith Haut Lafitte wines above many others from the region in terms of their quality. Smith Haut Lafitte makes both a red and white grand vin. Cabernet Sauvignon usually accounts for 60 to 65 percent of the red wine, Merlot contributes around 30 percent, and small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot round out a typical blend. The wine is aged in barrel for about 18 months with 60 to 65 percent new wood. The white grand vin is usually Sauvignon Blanc-dominant, with around five percent each of Sémillon and Sauvignon Gris. The wine is fermented in barrel and aged in barrel on its lees for a year. 50 pecent of barrels are new in both stages. The second wines are the Le Petit Haut Lafitte white (introduced in 2013) and red (from 2010). They are made from lots identified during the blending of the grand vins. the red designed to show more of a rounder, Right Bank style, and is usually a 55:45 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot aged in barrel for 14 months. The white is an 80:20 Sauvignon Blanc - Sémillon combination, also vinified like the grand vin but with a few months less barrel maturation. The Les Hauts de Smith duo are now the third wines of the estate; they see less new oak. The 78 hectares (193 acres) of vineyards and the château sit on a low hill of stones and pebbles deposited by the Garonne River. This gravelly soil offers not only superb drainage, but also reflects sunshine to amplify its benefits to the vines and fruit. The vineyard is farmed organically, harvests are manual, and the estate has its own vine nursery, situated on Ile de Lalande in the middle of the Garonne. The vat room was recently renovated and now operates entirely by gravity flow. Vats are sized to allow flexibility in managing individual parcels of fruit. On arrival the grapes are sorted using hi-tech computerized optical systems. The red wine cellar is one of the largest underground facilities in Bordeaux, holding up to 1000 barrels. The property is also unusual in retaining an on-site cooper. Grapes have been grown on the site since 1365. In 1958, it was purchased by the Louis Eschenauer company, which invested into the winery and its vineyards. Since 1990, the property has been owned by Daniel Cathiard. The château is unrelated to first growth Château Lafite Rothschild, despite the similarities in the name. Smith Haut Lafitte takes its name from the gravel plateau cultivated in 1365 (and known as Lafitte) and 18th Century owner George Smith, who was the first to build the manor house on the site in Pessac-Léognan.