Tasting Notes Smith-Haut-Lafitte 2018
This is incredibly complex with hazelnut, currant, berry and dried-flower character. The impression of a vat of fermenting cabernet. Full body, round and juicy tannins and a long, soft and silky finish. Shows the essence of the fruit here. Fascinating. Layered and complex.
There is a luxurious, languorous feel right from the very first nose here, which continues step for step all the way through the palate. It's a highly impressive wine with an amazing texture - something that is starting to mark Smith Haut Lafitte out every year. Notes of dark chocolate, black cherry and liquorice stretch out through the rich palate, displaying tension and texture. 2% Petit Verdot completes the blend. Harvested 18 September to 10 October. 60% new oak.
Composed of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot aging in 60% new barriques, the very deep purple-black colored 2018 Smith Haut Lafitte is a little shy to begin. With coaxing, it very slowly unfurls to reveal a heart-stopping perfume of violets, red roses, kirsch, black cherries and redcurrant jelly, before giving way to a profound core of warm blackcurrants, blackberry preserves, molten licorice and cinnamon stick with nuances of dried mint, orange blossoms (yes!) and cloves. Full-bodied, the fruit does veritable pirouettes on your palate, both elegant and powerful in its expression, coating the mouth with densely packed red and black fruits while revealing tons of mineral, floral and savory sparks, framed by exquisitely fine-grained tannins and bold freshness, finishing very long.
Ripe and lush, with delicious waves of plum, blackberry and black currant preserve flavors laced with subtle charcoal, tobacco and licorice notes. There's a long flow through the finish. Beautifully rendered, capturing the ripeness of the vintage in spades without being heady at all.—J.M.
The 2018 Smith Haut Lafitte is powerful, dense and also tightly wound. There is good depth to the red cherry and plum fruit, but the 2018 comes across as not fully put together. It will be interesting to see what élevage does, but today, the Grand Vin, while good, is not especially thrilling. The tannins need time to soften, and the wine just needs time to find its center. I found the 2018 very challenging to taste on two separate occasions.