CHATEAU SMITH HAUT LAFITTE
This Pessac-Léognan estate has a refined reputation as ‘the quintessential Graves’. Its history stretches back over 800 years to the Crusades, with vines planted in 1365 on a gravelly plateau known as Lafitte. George Smith purchased the Graves estate in 1720, adding his name to the property.
Current owners are the Cathiard family, who instigated manual harvesting and sorting regimes where only the best grapes are utilised, introducing, too, their own cooperage from where they produce 70% of their own barrels. A well-judged combination of new and old, the winery is ultra-modern, while the vineyard is ploughed using horses.
The Cathiards have taken the estate from a degree of vinous mediocrity to its current position near the top of the pecking order. The farming is sustainable and organic, with a heavy slant towards biodynamics, producing fantastic smoky wines from 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. They also make a stunning dry white from 60-year-old vines of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Sémillon.
Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Semillon