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May 13, 2013

Smith Haut Lafitte 2012 En Primeur

As reported previously Pessac Leognon shone in 2012 with the appellation’s gravelly soils and higher percentage of merlot combating the late rains that troubled the rest of the left bank. Smith Haut Laffite received its first 100 point score in 2009, with Parker calling it a prodigious effort. It scored 98+ in 2010 and is being spoken about in the same regard as Pontet Canet.

We thought it was one of the best performers this vintage, a sentiment confirmed when Parker awarded it 92-94 ‘A brilliant success again’; It also had one of the severest selections with only 41% making it into the Grand Vin.

Smith Haut Laffite is located south of the city proper in the commune of Martillac and has been embarking on a large investment programme, which has included a new cellar and in 2000 they switched from mechanical to hand harvesting. The grapes are stored in ergonomic pods designed by the proprietor Danial Cathiard to prevent oxidation. The estate produces only 10,000 cases a year (reduced considerably in 2012) and the average vine age is between 36 to 65 years. They also make one of Bordeaux leading white wines.

The 2012 presents possibly the best buy of the campaign in terms of price versus quality with Smith Haut Laffite being one of the leading performers in terms of returns over the last 5 years. Make no mistake Smith Haut Laffite makes investment grade wine and will continue to achieve price appreciation. It is an estate collectors should consider for a vertical collection of over the coming years. This is being released at £450 for a full case.

A brilliant success again, this blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot is a medium-bodied, impressively concentrated wine with copious quantities of red and black fruits. Licorice, roasted herbs and a touch of background oak are present in this slightly precocious wine, which should be accessible when released. It has the depth to evolve for 20 or more years. Talk about a severe selection – only 41% made it into the grand vin! 92-94 Parker Points