wine details

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge 2023
Château: Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge 2023

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Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW 94-96+/100

A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot, the 2023 Smith Haut Lafitte is aging in 60% new oak and it is opaque purple-black in color. It needs a bit of shaking to brink forth an eruption of blackcurrant preserves, ripe plums, and baked black cherries, leading to hints of chocolate mint, violets, and unsmoked cigars, with a waft of pencil shavings. The medium to full-bodied palate is taut with muscular black fruits, delivering a solid frame of firm, grainy tannins and well-knit freshness, finishing long and earthy.

James Suckling 98-99/100

Probably one of the most structured and stony SHLs I have ever had. Full yet very tight and compact palate with tannins that are like a tightly wound ball of silk. It goes on for a very long time. The cab berries were very small and they delivered a fantastic backbone of tannins, but at the same time intensity of vivid and reserved fruit. This is really long and classic in structure. The elevage in barrel will polish the fantastic, pure tannins. 70% cabernet sauvignon, 23% merlot, 6% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot. From biodynamically grown grapes.

Neal Martin Vinous 94-96/100

The 2023 Smith Haut Lafitte comes with a label celebrating the visit of King Charles III that year, though I presume it was not his advice to include more Cabernet Sauvignon (70%). It was cropped at 26hL/ha. Matured in 60% new oak, it has a lovely bouquet with blackberry, wild strawberry, crushed violet and light oyster shell scents. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit, gentle grip, fine depth and a sapid, classically lined finish. One of the more structured Smith Haut Lafittes in recent years, it deserves four or five years in bottle. Excellent.

Antonio Galloni Vinous 95-97/100

The 2023 Smith Haut Lafitte is a powerhouse. In recent years, the Grand Vin has shifted toward a bit more nuance than in the past, but in 2023, small yields and thick skins yielded a somber, explosive Grand Vin. It will need many years to be at its most expressive. Blackberry, gravel, licorice, spice, plum and chocolate are some of the many notes that emerge from the glass. Readers will find a wine of real substance and textural intensity, framed by vibrant acids. A touch of air works wonders here. 2030-2053

The Wine Advocate 94-96/100

The 2023 Smith Haut Lafitte is a brilliant wine, revealing a complex, elegantly oaky bouquet of dark wild berries, mulberries, blueberries, flowers and spices. Medium to full-bodied, seamless and rich, it has a fleshy core of fruit with good concentration and refined, structured tannins that segues into a long, penetrating and mineral finish. Crafted with an unprecedented majority of Cabernet Sauvignon—due to mildew affecting the Merlot—this Smith Haut Lafitte highlights a distinctly Cabernet-driven texture that authentically reflects its terroir despite a slightly more structured character. This blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, matured in 60% new oak barrels, represents one-third of the entire crop. -Yohan Castaing, April 2024

Jane Anson 96/100

Cabernet dominant in terms of aromatics and weight through the palate, opening with fennel, sage, violets, peonies, squid ink, cocoa bean, espresso, with the texture softening and becoming creamier through the mid palate. The hidden depths and slow build that elevates the always-seductive character of Smith Haut-Lafitte into one of the truly exceptional wines of Bordeaux are fully on display. Wine director Fabien Teitgen on his 28th vintage at the estate - and this is the vintage where King Charles and Camilla visited the property, so it comes with a commemorative label. 26hl/h yield, harvest September 8 to October 5.