Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Seminar Tasting Notes

Posted by Cult Wines on 27 September 2016

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Seminar Tasting Notes


Global Partnership of Family Offices -
Private Office Club

Cult Wines and Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Seminar


On Thursday 8th September Cult Wines was proud to have been cordially invited by the Global Partnership of Family Offices to present at their exclusive Private Office Club meeting at 20 Grosvenor Street in Mayfair. The event was an all-round success with over 20 of GPFO’s top principal members attending. The attendees learnt a brief history of fine wine including the how’s, the why’s and the where’s, through analysis of the investment market, including current market trends and projections, book-ended with key risks and ways to mitigate them.


Following on from this seminar Cult Wines organised an exclusive tasting with Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte and were extremely grateful to have the winemaker himself, Fabien Teitgen, attend to host the wine tasting session.


The feedback from the event has been overwhelmingly positive with many of the Family Office principals expressing an interest in what could be a fantastic way to add further diversification to their portfolios in these uncertain times. If it’s ever fair to use such an adjective, the group was stupefied by the magical Smith Haut Lafitte 100-pointer, the 2009 vintage. Discussion lasted long into the night about the 2009s smoothness paired with its complexity, with debate amongst the group that the 2015 could be on par, or whisper it, better. It’s fair to say Fabien was more than happy to pick up even more adoring fans, and we are all looking forward to our next collaboration.


The Cult Wines wine tasting experience was fantastic. They provided a hugely insightful presentation into the wine market and wine investment portfolio strategies. Global Partnership’s clients thoroughly enjoyed themselves throughout the evening, tasting some of the worlds most superb wines from Chateau Haut Smith Lafitte. A delightful experience all round. Many thanks.

Michael Shelton-Agar – CEO, The Global Partnership Family Offices



Tasting Notes by Lukasz Kolodziejczyk –
Cult Wines Head of Fine Wine


One has to admire the effort this estate puts into pursuing excellence. Daniel and Florence Cathiard acquired the underperforming estate in 1990 and they spare no effort or expense in handcrafting the whites and reds that are among very best in Bordeaux today.


We have four wines to taste: one white SHL 2013 and three red; Petit SHL 2012 and Smith’s Haut Lafitte 2012 and 2009. All the wines were showing impressively well, several made for joyous discoveries.


Wine 1

2013 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc

90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% each of Semillon and Sauvignon Gris

A star bright, medium intense lemon yellow core that is persistent to the rim. Aromas are seductive and pure, with a mix of tangerine with white peach and grapefruit zest. There is a delicate aroma of freshly cut grass, candle wax and wet stone minerals refreshed by freshly squeezed lime. The palate is complete and youthful with great clarity and tension. I’m curious to re-taste it in 2-3 years’ time.



Wine 2

2012 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte ‘Le Petit Haut Lafite’ Rouge

55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot

This second wine shows a medium intense garnet core fading to a violet rim. I feel 2012 is often underestimated as a vintage but this wine has direct and intense flavours: blackcurrant and red cherry with plums and turned black earth aroma. A soft structure with soft tannins and a refreshing juicy finish.



Wine 3

2012 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Rouge

55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot

The comparison here with the second wine is a great one. This looks like an older brother, with much more concentration with black fruit complemented by toasty oak and vegetal notes of green bell pepper and dry earth. The palate is dry, soft but firm with engaging silky tannins. To me, this is a very convincing effort that will benefit from further five to 10 years of ageing.



Wine 4

2009 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Rouge

64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot

There have been only 224 wines awarded 100 points by Robert Parker, this wine being one of them.

A saturated garnet core which fades to a medium plus intense ruby rim. The wine has an intense spectrum of mostly black fruit including dry plums with ripe red berries. Spice such us turned earth with pencil shavings and graphite is well proportioned and well complemented by clove and vanilla. The palate is dense and savoury offering excellent counterpoints delivered by tannins and acidity that add to this wine’s refinement. One of top young Bordeaux I have tried in long time.




On reflection, Chateau Smith has delivered great consistency – and with tremendous modesty about its accomplishments. It is safe to assume that we will see a lot more wine like these, and the experience made me once again recalibrate my opinion about white wines from Bordeaux, which are often overlooked. The last 10-15 years has seen a great improvement for dry whites in Bordeaux and they do give white Burgundies a run for their money.


Tags: , , , , ,