December 22, 2019 - This was my first SHL ever, and one of the few French wines I’ve tried. I typically stick with the Napa fruit bombs, mainly because of familiarity. Notes of cassis, blackberry, red licorice, herbs and a touch of mint. Very well balanced with a substantially long finish. Decanted half the bottle on day one, slow ox day two. The wine mellowed quite a bit overnight as it initially was a little hot and overpowering. What impressed me the most was how smooth this wine became on day two, very balanced even though the tannins were quite dominating. Much more subtle than the Napa wines I’m used to, which is refreshing.
December 11, 2019 - Deep ruby
Nose: Black cherry, blackberry pie crust, violet flower, warm cedar and graphite. Elegantly perfumed.
Mouth: Round, full cassis with flashes of cherry cordial and licorice roll through in slow waves, crashing against each other before immediately doing a U-turn and snapping into a midpalate of dark tobacco, black earth, and graphite. Finish lingers endlessly on this note, turning bitter/tarry as it adds a bit of dried herb and very slowly fades. Throughout, muscular tannins linger on the sides, giving an additional brooding feel to the package.
Overall: At the moment this has flashes of elegance, but is still very much in bruiser territory. The layers are immense, the finish refuses to quit. It's a deep black well as it stands, and deserves to be laid down for quite a while to try and mature and let so much of what it offers integrate. Titanic, and has an endless runway ahead of it. Five years minimum, Probably 2045-50 maximum. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot.
November 13, 2019 - Ode to France, les Accabailles and the Crus Classés de Grave (Château Carbonnieux): Not as impressive an experience as I had in January this year in Philly, so the wine may be closing down. But the depth and density are undeniable as is the savory, somewhat modern style.
October 18, 2019 - Highest scoring lowest priced Bordeaux 2016
"...Is this the best vintage of Smith Haut Lafitte? Maybe. Regardless, it is going to give the 2009 and 2010 a run for the money."
The wine Insider 98Pts
"...The 2016 Smith Haut Lafitte is flat out stunning. Rich, ample and explosive"
Vinous: 98 Pts
"...The broad finish has the grip and cut for definition. A beautiful wine in the making"
Wine Spectator: 98 Pts
"...superbly plush tannins, finishing epically long and beautifully layered."
R. Parker's Wine Advocate: 98 Pts
"...dense structure, superb acidity and black currant fruits, this is a great wine"
Wine Enthusiast: 98 Pts
The last 14 cases remaining before tariffs increase, do not miss!
Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte has a long history in Bordeaux that dates back over 800 years.
The estate started out life as part of the Du Boscq holdings in the Graves region. It was Du Boscq who planted vines in 1365 on a gravelly plateau called Lafitte. This is of course where part of the famous chateau took its name from.
Jumping ahead a few hundred years, George Smith bought the Graves estate in 1720. Smith added his name to the property, which we now know of as Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte.
Today, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte is owned and managed by Daniel Cathiard (former olympic skiing champion) and Florence Cathiard. The Cathiard’s purchased the Bordeaux estate in 1990.
-Eddy Le Garrec
Smith Haut Lafitte in 2016 Vintage
This is a strong candidate for the best wine yet produced by Daniel. The inky color lets you know this is going to be packed and stacked with layers of ripe fruit. But there is more going on here than concentration. Dense, yet light on its feet, the fruit displays a level of purity not seen here before. The oak is better integrated and velvet and silky texture is a complete turn on Everything is in balance and harmony here. Wine Cellar Insider 99Pts
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.
October 12, 2019 - Still very tightly wound but showing some of the tremendous potential for the future. Inky dark in the glass, with blackberry, anise and charred oak on the nose, plum and blackberry and licorice and espresso on the palate. Monolithic tannins that you can already see resolving beautifully.....in a couple of decades. Edged out a 2016 sassicaia that it was tasted against This could be gorgeous when mature. So take the score as a conservative impression of where it is now. Bury it for at least 20 years.
Score 94+. Relative to expectations: ++
October 8, 2019 - Much more linear and red-fruited at the moment when directly compared to the more unctuous and concentrated 2015 SHL, this 2016 displays red raspberry, red and black cherry, menthol, sage, and subtle tobacco notes on the front end. A quick shot delivery that fires fairly quickly across the palate, stopping just enough to offer up some rounder versions of fruit flavor on the mid-palate before racing off to the straight-lined finish. Never fully envelops the palate depth-wise, but offers purity and freshness that compels one back for another sip. A few hours of decanting helps a little, but the flavor expansion stays at more of a furrowed brow level.
For me, the 2015 is a rocket launcher when compared to the 2016’s slingshot of an attack. At present, the 2016 is a little geeky and straight-laced. Leave it alone for another 7-10 years minimum. 94++ points with upside after 2030.
If you get fired-up over taking calculus tests and think lab rats are your friends, drink the 2016 now. If you’re someone who actually had a girlfriend in college, stick with the 2015 SHL.
September 21, 2019 - The depth of color is serious. On the nose, there is dark red fruits, licorice, smoke, herbs and espresso bean. The wine is clearly intense, and also lifted, which is very hard to do! The oak is better integrated than in previous vintages and the velvet and silky texture on the palate is a complete turn on. Everything is in balance and harmony here. The finish is seamless. This is going to age quite well.
August 17, 2019 - Dark red, purple, inky colored. Slow moving, long legs. We savored this wine over 6 hours with medium rare Filet for an accompanying meal. Aromatic, black currant, oak, coffee, maybe a burnt wood smell or wood smoke at times. I keep expecting tobacco and lead pencil in the aroma but neither is emerging. When first opened we both reported a strong alcohol taste. Not hot, but definitely alcoholic. With time, that taste receded and black currant took over as well as a subtle coffee taste and a distinct woody flavor. Not overwhelming woodiness. A smooth, full bodied wine with a long, enjoyable finish. The nose and taste are more complex and interesting after 5 hours. A great wine, very enjoyable today, but clearly very young. We likely won't touch again for a year or two.
February 25, 2019 - UCGB tasting Bordeaux 2016 (Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam.): Red and dark berries, beautiful oak and vanilla. A beautiful balance between a touch of sweetness and acidity and tannin. A seductive wine already.