The 2013 vintage challenged Bordeaux with a cool, gray growing season that ended with a rainy harvest. For reds, it was a real struggle. But the cool weather produced vibrant whites, and one of the best examples came from Smith-Haut-Lafitte. Since purchasing this estate in 1990, Florence and Daniel Cathiard have aggressively invested in viticulture and winemaking. Technical director Fabien Teitgen barrel ferments their top white (90 percent Sauvignon Blanc and 5 percent each Sémillon and Sauvignon Gris) to achieve richness, preserving the wine’s vibrant acidity by blocking malolactic fermentation.
This has a gorgeous feel, with opulent fruit offset by racy herb notes and acidity, showing lemon sherbet, shortbread and white peach flavors backed by a salted butter– and tarragon-laced finish, with hints of talc and fennel skittering in the background. Seriously long and still a touch youthful on the finish, this is one for the cellar. Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Sémillon. Best from 2017 through 2023.—James Molesworth
- Bordeaux, France
- Issue Date:
- March 31, 2016