Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte 2005
Blend: 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet franc, 1% Petit Verdot.
One can’t say enough about the accomplishments the Cathiards have achieved at this property since 1990. Prior to their purchase of the property, appallingly diluted, vegetal, fruitless, charmless wines were produced, but they have turned Smith-Haut-Lafitte into a showcase Pessac-Leognan. The inky/blue/purple-tinged 2005's extraordinary nose reeks of charcoal, incense, scorched earth, abundant blackberry, blueberry, and cherry fruit, toast, and spice. Good acidity, huge but sweet tannin, and fabulous precision as well as definition characterize this full-bodied, super-concentrated effort. It should prove to be among the longest-lived wines yet made by the Cathiards. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030+.
The Cathiards have invested heavily in this property since they purchased it in the early 1990s. It is one of the great terroirs of the Graves, a raised plateau of gravel where the vines produce a rich and powerful wine. That power is amplified in a vintage like 2005 into a huge, cassis-driven red with the velvet feel of a favorite childhood pillow. The Cathiards do not spare the new oak, a character that dominates this young wine, while the fruit underneath feels healthy and clean, vibrating with tension, set for a long life ahead.
Good fresh red-ruby color. Reticent but pure aromas of plum, mocha and tobacco. This began sweet and dense but a bit sullen, then exploded with aeration to show sharply delineated flavors of plum, tobacco, hot stones and smoked meat. Wonderfully fat and full wine that spreads out on the back to saturate the entire palate. This makes the '07 seem peppery and high-pitched in comparison. Very long on the aftertaste. I asked technical director Teitgen to name his favorite recent vintages in Pessac-Leognan, and he listed 1998, 2001 and 2005.
Very grapey, with black licorice and mineral character. Full-bodied, with hints of new wood and spices. Big and velvety. This is balanced and very silky, with harmonious yet chewy tannins. This is a different style from the 2003, but it's equally impressive. A wonderful young wine. Best after 2013. 8,000 cases made.
Château Smith Haut LafitteView all wine
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