Chateau Smith Haut Lafite 2001

92 points

Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France. 13%

One of the best, most complex, and interesting wines I’ve had in my weeks here in Bordeaux. Though it is somewhat odd.

There are lovely complex vinous aromas of fruit, smoke, and meaty complexity. The wine itself is complete, showing really nice development and integration. It’s fairly solid but mellow. Savoury with an inner core of sweet ripe fruit.

Very enjoyable, but surprisingly developed for six years. Perhaps this is the vintage. Perhaps it was the storage, though the wine hasn’t travelled far. It’s also one of the few Bordeaux reds that has noticeable added acidity, and this is part of its character (like old Australian wines). I find this worrying, though I appreciate tht it is hard for me to criticise this added acidity when I’ve just given it 92 points. Drink now to 2010.

Added after my review was written:
LA REVUE DU VIN DE France ****(*)
Astonishingly ripe nose. Opulent palate. Lots of class on the aftertaste. (september 2003)
The 2001 is another beauty from this property. The impressive perfumed aromatics consisting of black raspberries, spring flowers, currants, graphite, and new oak are followed by an elegantly etched, medium-bodied, moderately weighty Graves with abundant quantities of sweet fruit. Although it does not possess the power and volume of the 2000, it is a complex, harmonious effort with excellent definition as well as delicacy. Proprietors Daniel and Florence Cathiard believe it to be just as good as the 2000, and they may be proven right. Certainly it is a wine of exceptional freshness, purity and complexity. For the difference in price, smart money might consider chasing the 2001. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2015. (June 2004)
GAULT MILLAU 89-92/100
Very dark colour. The bouquet fluctuates between liquorice, blackberry, blackcurrant, and a smoky quality. Starts out very concentrated on the palate. The middle palate is smooth and silky with very ripe tannins. This generous wine is more classic and perhaps more straightforward than usual, and should age beautifully. It will be enjoyable early.


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