Red

2016 Château Smith Haut Lafitte

Red Bordeaux Blend

  • France
  • Bordeaux
  • Graves
  • Pessac-Léognan

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Community Tasting Note

  • WineBurrowingWombat Likes this wine: 94 points

    October 14, 2019 - Nose: Nice red fruits like fresh, dark red cherries, dark ripe strawberries, cranberries, a slight carbonic nose, slight barnyard funk and/or brett, soft forest floor with undergrowth, a really subtle spice and barely any oak. If this was served blind, I would have guessed Pinot Noir.

    Palate: Dark red fruits with integrated deep rich earth, slight oak and a slight spice (or heat, hard call), slight tobacco leaves and finishes with some minerality and something like black tea.

    Dark ruby with a slight purpling. Dry with medium amounts of fine, grippy tannins. Medium-plus body with medium amounts of acidity. Good finish of about 14-16 seconds. Good intensity, fresh and seems just a tad wild in terms of juiciness and acidity. But I think that's due to the youth of this wine. Not that I would know but I think at least 7-8 years for the acidity to calm down for this to show well. It's really hard to imagine how this would be later down the line but it should be better integrated. It's good and well made but not my style.

    Other details: No decant, time in glass only. Due to cooler weather conditions, pours from the bottle were about 58° but was able to get to to about 63° which was showed better: darker, richer, less sharp in acidity and more dense.

    2 people found this helpful 6,223 views

6 Comments

  • Mark1npt commented:

    10/14/19, 8:01 PM - Wombat....appreciate your indepth notes.....it's been my finding that EVERY BDX needs either time or air or temp to come around to it's best showing. I especially liked your last small paragraph noting the change in the wine with time and temp in glass. I would take it a significant step further like a 3 hour decant and warm to our room temp here in FL to 72-73 deg. I think you'd find it to change even so much more....for the better. I have a few of these and am doing everything possible in my cellar, to not drink them for a while. It may be a losing proposition after reading a few reviews on here recently! Cheers, pal!

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    10/14/19, 8:51 PM - Thanks WineB!

  • WineBurrowingWombat commented:

    10/15/19, 7:35 AM - Hey Mark! Yeah, after having a few discussions with more experienced tasters here on Bordeaux wine (funny, LiteItOnFire being one of them LOL), I realized they definitely need more bottle age compared to California wine.

    And you're absolutely right on on the temperature btw.. it was awfully hot for the past two weeks and every time the wines showed a lot better.

    One thing I'm a little worried about with decanting though, is that a lot of my past experiences when I do decant is that the wine ends up being a bit more pronounced in acidity and sometimes with more oak/tobacco and mineral notes... am I doing it wrong or something?? It's one of those wide based decanters, I empty the entire bottle in and just let it sit for a few hours correct? Seems dumb to even ask that. It's just I always imagine decanting would really make a wine bloom but again, most, if not all, of the times that I did decant, the wine provided me with not so great results.. now looking back, I'm starting to think it could be the serving temperature maybe.

  • LiteItOnFire commented:

    10/15/19, 8:10 AM - You are doing it exactly right except for one major step, inviting us over to Tate with you! Lol. I am finding the 2016s to have a more pronounced acid profile than say the 2015s which have not only a year of age but overall better integration and deeper fruit profile for so early in its life. I plan to hold my 2016s for 5 - 7 years before opening in order to allow the acid to better integrate.

    A suggestion if I may, seek out the 2009 and/or 2010 SHL to get a good foundation of what a great vintage with age will do for these wines. This was one of my gateway Bordeaux wines. On the right bank, there are more approachable younger wines (sub $100) that might be worth tasting as well. Good luck in your journey!

  • WineBurrowingWombat commented:

    10/15/19, 8:18 AM - Ha! Okay, thanks for the recommendation. I have to say the Ducru-Beaucaillou was probably the gateway wine for me into Bordeaux. If I would have known it would be that good, I would've purchased a few more at least.. Unfortunately ordering Bordeaux from here kinda sucks. It's always pre-arrivals and I want to try one at least before buying more.

  • Mark1npt commented:

    10/15/19, 8:45 AM - Wombat, you are decanting just fine, as Lite says. I struggle a bit with young wines when decanting. If nothing else I am a scientist at heart. I enjoy discovery and trial and error. Don't be afraid to try different things. The most awesome adventure in wine can start by accident! The single greatest thing I've found is to ignore the serving temp recommendations.
    I have found that almost ALL wines open up and taste better to my palate at FL room temp of 72-74 deg. The exceptions I've found so far being Hamilton Russell SAfrican chard which most def needs to be chilled and the occasional Cali red. Some of them unleash their alcohol on the nose when warmed in the glass and if you keep them chilled a bit, it stays more muted, less annoying. You just have to experiment a little. For my BDX blends, I love to open one on a Sat/Sun around noon, sample taste from the decanter, and then every hour go back and sample again til dinnertime 5-6 hours later. Really gives you a picture of how the vintage and the producer unfolds. Can tell quite a different story about each wine! Sometimes you wish your dinner was 2 hours earlier at its peak. Sometimes you hit it just right.....

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