Le Petit Haut Lafitte 2015

$105.00
Sale price

Regular price $105.00

The 2015 Le Petit Haut Lafitte has a very pure, almost Burgundy-like bouquet with red berry fruit, a little more gourmand in style than the Les Hauts de Smith, hints of garrigues emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with a gentle grip in the mouth, the most saline, marine-influenced red from the Smith Haut Lafitte stable with fine delineation and mineralité on the finish. Very fine.

91
Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, February 2018

The Producer

History

The history of Château Smith Haut Lafitte goes back to 1365, when the noble house of Bosq chose this terroir to run a vineyard. Then in the 18th century the Scotsman George Smith bought the estate, gave it his name, built the Chartreuse and exported the already famous barrels to England on his ships. In 1842, Mr. Duffour-Dubergier, mayor of Bordeaux but also a passionate winegrower, inherited Château Smith Haut Lafitte from his mother and turned it into a Grand Cru. At the beginning of the century the House of Louis Eschenauer realized the exceptional quality of this wineand ensured its distribution, finally buying the property in 1958. Since that time, major investments have been made, including the construction of a superb underground cellar that can raise more than 1,000 barrels at the same time. In 1990, Daniel Cathiard fell in love with the vineyard and joined the prestigious line of owners with the firm intention of continuing to enhance the value of this noble cru: his constant search for excellence led him to harmoniously handle the most modern winemaking techniques with traditional methods: living soil, organic compost, a return to small oak vats, ageing on lees in barrels… Without a doubt, the exemplary elegance of the red wines of Smith Haut Lafitte deserves this daily care.

Terroir

The terroir of Château Smith Haut Lafitte is located on a hilltop, 67 hectares of which are planted with vines and covered with “Gunziennes” graves which offers two astonishing particularities: a natural drainage of the soil which forces the roots of the vines to fetch water and mineral salts at a depth of several meters, and a “mirror effect” of the sun, which, by reflecting on the pebbles composing the graves, helps the grapes to ripen and blossom. The average age of the vines is 38 years. The grape varieties are 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Concerned about quality, the same green operations are carried out for the whites and reds, to prepare the vines and bunches for the harvest: disbudding, de-budding, leaf thinning. The harvest is done by hand, in the Sauternes style, by successive sorting, picking only the bunches of grapes at good maturity, leaving the others to finish their maturation. The bunches are then delicately pressed with inert pneumatic presses. During this pressing the bunches and the juice are protected from oxidation by an inert gas (nitrogen) thus preserving all the aromatic potential and the color of the juice of the grapes. The juice flows by gravity to stainless steel tanks at 8 degrees for a settling of 24 hours. Natural fermentation then begins in barrels. They generally last from 8 to 20 days. The ageing on total lees lasts 10 to 12 months, with a proportion of 50% new barrels.

The great particularity of Château Smith Haut Lafitte, beyond its fabulous wines, lies in its commitment to the preservation of our ecosystem and the biodiversity of the vineyard. Thus, in addition to state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly growing and winemaking techniques (organic homemade compost, implantation of hedges, forest, beehives, horse vine work, drones, or the Normalized Difference Vegetive Index (NDVI) which allows the detection of row heterogeneities…), Château Smith Haut Lafitte works according to the circular economy model. This new economic, ecological, local and societal model, on the fringe of the breathtaking “extract-manufacture-consumer-dispose” linear system, is practiced with the aim of producing an exceptional wine. The property limits the consumption and waste of raw materials and non-renewable energy resources, transforms waste into recycled raw materials, and reflects on the eco-design of its products. The stealthy wine storehouse is a perfect example of this. This new investment is completely blind to environmental radars and must produce its own energy, without emitting CO2.

The best place to start when you are pairing food and wine is to think about the structural elements of both the food and wines. These elements are: sweetness, acidity, bitterness, umami, chilli heat and fat.

We have listed these elements in foods and how you can add wines with similar or contrasting elements to help create harmony in your matches.

Sweetness 

Sweet foods can overpower dry wines, white or red, making them appear acidic, neutral or bitter. In order to reduce this effect you should pair sweet foods with sweet wines. 

Acidity

Acidic foods, like fresh citrus, tomatoes or salads laden with vinaigrettes, will overpower the acidity in a wine making them appear flabby or less acidic than they were. In order to reduce this effect you should pair acidic foods with wines that have a higher acidity such as Champagne, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.

Acidity is a key element in creating balance in a dish or a food-and-wine match. If the foods are going to reduce the acidity in the wines then you need to add your own bit of acidity by bringing a more acidic wine to the table. It is the same principle behind adding lemon juice to seafood dishes, as seafood tends to have quite low natural acidity.

Bitterness

If a food is high in bitterness then it will make the wine appear bitter, or it will increase the perception of bitterness (tannins) in the wine. In order to reduce this effect you should pair bitter foods with wines that are not bitter but rather have refreshing acidity.

Umami (Savoury)

Foods that are highly savoury, like mushrooms, will increase the bitterness or acidic perception we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair umami rich foods with wines that are very fruity and do not have medium-high tannins. 

Often foods that are more savoury are best matched with white wines like Chardonnay or Soave as these do not have tannins but have lots of fruity flavours nor do they have extremely high acidity.

Chilli Heat

Chilli heat is similar to umami rich foods where by it will increase the bitterness or acidic perception as well as the alcoholic burn we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair chilli heat rich foods with wines that are very fruity but also have higher sweetness.

Wines that are just a touch off-dry like many Gewurztraminer or Riesling work best with chilli foods like a curry as they will be both a bit sweet but also very fruity. If you aren't a white wine drinker then you should consider red wines that have lower tannins such as a Pinot Noir or a Gamay Noir. 

Fatty

Foods that are high in fat will make the wines feel flabby and less fruity. In order to reduce this effect you should pair fatty foods with wines that have high acidity. This is similar to the rule of adding in acidity (in the form of citrus) to seafood to help balance out not just the acidity but to cut down the perception of fattiness in the seafood. 

This is why when you are having a piece of red meat that is high in fat, like lamb, then you should pair it with a Pinot Noir instead of a Merlot as a Pinot Noir will have a higher acidity and will help to balance out the dish.

 

 

These rules will help you with starting to think about how to create pairings. It often isn't helpful to think about 'red wine and red meat' or 'white wine and fish' because it is actually the structural elements of the wine and food that are what need to be balanced. It is the acidity in white wines that work well with cutting through the fattiness of a piece of fish but you could get that acidity through a Pinot Noir. 

The 2015 Le Petit Haut Lafitte has a very pure, almost Burgundy-like bouquet with red berry fruit, a little more gourmand in style than the Les Hauts de Smith, hints of garrigues emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with a gentle grip in the mouth, the most saline, marine-influenced red from the Smith Haut Lafitte stable with fine delineation and mineralité on the finish. Very fine.

91
Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, February 2018

The Producer

History

The history of Château Smith Haut Lafitte goes back to 1365, when the noble house of Bosq chose this terroir to run a vineyard. Then in the 18th century the Scotsman George Smith bought the estate, gave it his name, built the Chartreuse and exported the already famous barrels to England on his ships. In 1842, Mr. Duffour-Dubergier, mayor of Bordeaux but also a passionate winegrower, inherited Château Smith Haut Lafitte from his mother and turned it into a Grand Cru. At the beginning of the century the House of Louis Eschenauer realized the exceptional quality of this wineand ensured its distribution, finally buying the property in 1958. Since that time, major investments have been made, including the construction of a superb underground cellar that can raise more than 1,000 barrels at the same time. In 1990, Daniel Cathiard fell in love with the vineyard and joined the prestigious line of owners with the firm intention of continuing to enhance the value of this noble cru: his constant search for excellence led him to harmoniously handle the most modern winemaking techniques with traditional methods: living soil, organic compost, a return to small oak vats, ageing on lees in barrels… Without a doubt, the exemplary elegance of the red wines of Smith Haut Lafitte deserves this daily care.

Terroir

The terroir of Château Smith Haut Lafitte is located on a hilltop, 67 hectares of which are planted with vines and covered with “Gunziennes” graves which offers two astonishing particularities: a natural drainage of the soil which forces the roots of the vines to fetch water and mineral salts at a depth of several meters, and a “mirror effect” of the sun, which, by reflecting on the pebbles composing the graves, helps the grapes to ripen and blossom. The average age of the vines is 38 years. The grape varieties are 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Concerned about quality, the same green operations are carried out for the whites and reds, to prepare the vines and bunches for the harvest: disbudding, de-budding, leaf thinning. The harvest is done by hand, in the Sauternes style, by successive sorting, picking only the bunches of grapes at good maturity, leaving the others to finish their maturation. The bunches are then delicately pressed with inert pneumatic presses. During this pressing the bunches and the juice are protected from oxidation by an inert gas (nitrogen) thus preserving all the aromatic potential and the color of the juice of the grapes. The juice flows by gravity to stainless steel tanks at 8 degrees for a settling of 24 hours. Natural fermentation then begins in barrels. They generally last from 8 to 20 days. The ageing on total lees lasts 10 to 12 months, with a proportion of 50% new barrels.

The great particularity of Château Smith Haut Lafitte, beyond its fabulous wines, lies in its commitment to the preservation of our ecosystem and the biodiversity of the vineyard. Thus, in addition to state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly growing and winemaking techniques (organic homemade compost, implantation of hedges, forest, beehives, horse vine work, drones, or the Normalized Difference Vegetive Index (NDVI) which allows the detection of row heterogeneities…), Château Smith Haut Lafitte works according to the circular economy model. This new economic, ecological, local and societal model, on the fringe of the breathtaking “extract-manufacture-consumer-dispose” linear system, is practiced with the aim of producing an exceptional wine. The property limits the consumption and waste of raw materials and non-renewable energy resources, transforms waste into recycled raw materials, and reflects on the eco-design of its products. The stealthy wine storehouse is a perfect example of this. This new investment is completely blind to environmental radars and must produce its own energy, without emitting CO2.

The best place to start when you are pairing food and wine is to think about the structural elements of both the food and wines. These elements are: sweetness, acidity, bitterness, umami, chilli heat and fat.

We have listed these elements in foods and how you can add wines with similar or contrasting elements to help create harmony in your matches.

Sweetness 

Sweet foods can overpower dry wines, white or red, making them appear acidic, neutral or bitter. In order to reduce this effect you should pair sweet foods with sweet wines. 

Acidity

Acidic foods, like fresh citrus, tomatoes or salads laden with vinaigrettes, will overpower the acidity in a wine making them appear flabby or less acidic than they were. In order to reduce this effect you should pair acidic foods with wines that have a higher acidity such as Champagne, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.

Acidity is a key element in creating balance in a dish or a food-and-wine match. If the foods are going to reduce the acidity in the wines then you need to add your own bit of acidity by bringing a more acidic wine to the table. It is the same principle behind adding lemon juice to seafood dishes, as seafood tends to have quite low natural acidity.

Bitterness

If a food is high in bitterness then it will make the wine appear bitter, or it will increase the perception of bitterness (tannins) in the wine. In order to reduce this effect you should pair bitter foods with wines that are not bitter but rather have refreshing acidity.

Umami (Savoury)

Foods that are highly savoury, like mushrooms, will increase the bitterness or acidic perception we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair umami rich foods with wines that are very fruity and do not have medium-high tannins. 

Often foods that are more savoury are best matched with white wines like Chardonnay or Soave as these do not have tannins but have lots of fruity flavours nor do they have extremely high acidity.

Chilli Heat

Chilli heat is similar to umami rich foods where by it will increase the bitterness or acidic perception as well as the alcoholic burn we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair chilli heat rich foods with wines that are very fruity but also have higher sweetness.

Wines that are just a touch off-dry like many Gewurztraminer or Riesling work best with chilli foods like a curry as they will be both a bit sweet but also very fruity. If you aren't a white wine drinker then you should consider red wines that have lower tannins such as a Pinot Noir or a Gamay Noir. 

Fatty

Foods that are high in fat will make the wines feel flabby and less fruity. In order to reduce this effect you should pair fatty foods with wines that have high acidity. This is similar to the rule of adding in acidity (in the form of citrus) to seafood to help balance out not just the acidity but to cut down the perception of fattiness in the seafood. 

This is why when you are having a piece of red meat that is high in fat, like lamb, then you should pair it with a Pinot Noir instead of a Merlot as a Pinot Noir will have a higher acidity and will help to balance out the dish.

 

 

These rules will help you with starting to think about how to create pairings. It often isn't helpful to think about 'red wine and red meat' or 'white wine and fish' because it is actually the structural elements of the wine and food that are what need to be balanced. It is the acidity in white wines that work well with cutting through the fattiness of a piece of fish but you could get that acidity through a Pinot Noir.