Graves is on fire in this vintage, and it helps that this property is on a roll too! Galloni calls it fabulous. Subtle, nuanced and classy, it speaks to finesse more than power. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. Gracious and light on its feet, the 2016 possesses exceptional balance and class, with captivating freshness and energy."
The 2016 Smith-Haut-Lafitte is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot that was picked between 29 September and 19 October at 35 hectoliters per hectare. It is being matured in 60% new oak for a total of 18 months. "We have never been so proud of our Cabernet Sauvignon," winemaker Fabien Tietgen told me. Now, this has a much subtler bouquet than recent vintages, you could argue, more intellectual than the 2015 Smith-Haut-Lafitte. First there are aromas of blackberry, briary and just a hint of iodine, then underneath that, marine-like aromas such as freshly shucked oyster shells, pressed flowers and a touch of brown spice. There is wonderful delineation here. The palate is medium-bodied with plenty of tightly-wound black fruit, intermingling with smoke, black pepper, spice box and a touch of bay leaf. This is an extremely precise Smith-Haut-Lafitte, certainly a cerebral 2016 that might well be approachable young, yet will certainly age in consummate style. The château's own tasting note reads "What more could one possibly want from a wine?" The answer to that is: "Another bottle."
Seductively fleshy and creamy in feel, with alluring dark plum and fig notes laced with singed bay, black tea and dark earth hints. The broad finish has the grip and cut for definition. A beautiful wine in the making. Score range: 95-98
Wow. This is incredibly rich and exotic. Full-bodied, so deep and long. It lasts for minutes. Perfectly polished tannins evidence how texturally focused and supple this is. Decadent and enticing. From organically grown grapes. Super quality of cabernet is on show here. We will see if 2016 is better than 2015.
The 2016 Smith Haut Lafitte is flat out stunning. Rich, ample and explosive, the 2016 possesses tremendous energy and tension to play off the wine's dark, rich fruit. I am not sure I have ever tasted a young Smith Haut Lafitte with such extraordinary balance. In 2016, the Grand Vin is tense and pulsing with energy. Hints of lavender, spice, menthol and crème de cassis open up in the glass, but the 2016 stands out for its feel and exceptional harmony. The combined effects of picking a bit early, vinifiying more gently and reducing the impact of oak are having a profound effect at Smith Haut Lafitte. Thinking of some of the highly regarded wines of the last decade here, the 2009 and 2010 in particular, well, the 2016 is on another level. This is magnificent showing from proprietors Florence and Daniel Cathiard, and their team led by Technical Director Fabien Teitgen.