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Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge 2020 (750ML)

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Left Bank
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Critic Scores, Reviews & Descriptions

100 JD / 99 JS / 98 WI / 98 DE / 97 VM / 97 JA

#6 Jeb Dunnuck's Top 100 2023
#25 James Suckling Top 100 Wines of France 2023
A special label for 2020 celebrates the 30th harvest of the Cathiard family at the head the estate.

Absolutely pure gold and reminding me of the 2009 (or is it the 2010?), the 2020 Château Smith Haut Lafitte sports a dense purple hue to go with incredible aromatics of blackberries, blueberries, scorched earth, wood smoke, and acacia flowers. One of the most concentrated, rich, and sexy wines in the vintage, this massive and extraordinarily opulent 2020 shows the vintage's pure, elegant profile yet backs it up with sensational levels of fruit and texture. Based on 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it already offers pleasure given its wealth of fruit, but it deserves 7-8 years of bottle age and will evolve for 40-50 years. Not enough can be said about the quality of these wines. Bravo to Florence and Daniel Cathiard, as well as to director Fabien Teitgen, for another incredible achievement. - Jeb Dunnuck
Extremely fresh and deep in the nose with raspberry and blackcurrant character, as well as stone, fresh green tobacco and ink. Full-bodied with a dense center palate and gorgeous fine yet steely tannins. It calms down at the end with berries, citrus and some lavender. Salty at the end. Very minerally. Flinty. From organically grown grapes. 65% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot, 4% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot. Give it four or five years to come around. - James Suckling
The 2020 Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple in color, it storms out of the glass with powerful scents of creme de cassis, wild blueberries, and redcurrant preserves, followed by suggestions of cedar chest, charcuterie, cast-iron pan, and black truffles, with a touch of menthol. The full-bodied palate is densely laden with black fruit layers offset by mineral and red berry accents, supported by firm, grainy tannins and plenty of freshness, finishing long and earthy. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Independent
Vivid dark purple in the glass, but a remarkable clarity too. Fragrant black cherries, plums, cassis and perfumed aromas with blueberries, balsamic touches and white pepper. Rich, round, grippy and captivating, slightly plush but also tight, where you get a soft chalky, wet stone grip with lively acidity balanced by strict and spiced liquorice-touched fruit. You feel the leanness here but it's so well defined with clarity and precision. A sleeping giant right now, definitely not yet fully expressing itself but slowly grows to a long finish. There's something so utterly seductive about this wine, it's overt, forward, upfront, confident and powerful no doubt, this will need a while before it should be opened, but it’s a shining thoroughbred. Refined and purposeful. There’s a bit of magic in this bottle. - GH, Decanter
The 2020 Smith Haut Lafitte is every bit as captivating as it was from barrel. Ample, rich and explosive, the 2020 offers up an exciting mélange of dark fruit, chocolate, spice, gravel, leather and dried herbs, with a touch of new oak that adds raciness. This towering, vertical Smith Haut-Lafitte won't be ready to drink for a number of years, but it is super impressive. Even with all of its intensity, the 2020 retains terrific freshness and energy. -- Antonio Galloni - Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
Inky colour, charcoal, slate, cocoa bean, blueberry, espresso, grilled sandalwood, espresso, all delivered slowly but surely with punch and power. Palate-hugging confident tannins, this is a brillant wine that edges slowly through the palate, gathering layers and complexity as it goes. 60% new oak. Harvest September 9 to 30, technical director Fabien Teitgen. 60% new oak. Harvest started on September 9 to 30. As I said En Primeur; this is a masterclass in restrained Pessac glamour. - Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux

Exotic and lush in feel, with well-steeped plum, boysenberry and blackberry fruit flavors rolling through, scored with hints of espresso crema, dark tobacco and black licorice along the way. Very polished in feel, but with a late flicker of savory and a subtle tug of earth to keep this honest in the end. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2026 through 2037. —J.M., Wine Spectator

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