Le Petit Haut Lafitte Rouge

Le Petit Haut Lafitte Rouge

Pessac-Léognan 2016

Bordeaux, France

Regular price£155.00
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Case Format
Duty Status

Château Smith-Haut Lafitte is a fascinating estate, whose 87 hectares of vineyards follow an almost Burgundian expression of terroir. I recall visiting during the 2021 vintage seeing the patchwork like effect of the frost from one plot to the next. It’s remarkable that there can be such dramatic differences within a matter of 10-15 metres. It is perhaps for this reason that they produce their Grand Vin, but also two distinct second wines. Petit Haut Lafitte with a 60-40 Cabernet to Merlot blend, then Les Hauts de Smith with a 60-40 Merlot to Cabernet Blend to highlight the different expressions of the vineyards and grapes.
2016 was a spectacular vintage in Bordeaux, quite possibly the best vintage I’ve tried alongside 2010 and 1996. The wines are uniformly excellent, well-structured and long-lived. This is no exception, requiring a little coaxing from the glass, but opening up beautifully given time. It’s an elegant, polished expression of Cabernet Sauvignon rather than a powerhouse. It has the hallmark brambly fruit and cedar that you would expect from the region, but a slightly floral, lavender twist. The finish is refined and with a touch of pencil lead. This is certainly a thought-provoking wine which is rather Pauillac-like in many ways. Forgetting the similarities of the name, this does remind me of something from the DBR stable, Lafite-Rothschild or Duhart Milon. The tannic structure is fine, but not inconsiderable which will enable this to keep for another 5-10 years happily I would suggest.

Style: Red Drink from: 2023
ABV: 13.0% Drink to: 2030
Packaging: OWC Stock arriving: June 2024
Critic scores
91-93 RP, 92 NM, 94 AG, 92 JS, 17 JR, 90 GM, 91 JD
Critic reviews
"The 2016 Le Petit Haut Lafitte is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot matured in 20% new oak. It has a well-defined bouquet with mulberry, cranberry, pressed flowers and a touch of undergrowth; it is neatly defined though not powerful, but it does demonstrare commendable precision. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp and firm tannin, quite tensile and energetic (more so than the Les Hauts de Smith) with impressive structure and length on the almost Pauillac-like, graphite infused finish. Do not ignore this little gem from Château Smith Haut-Lafitte, because it always punches above its weight."
Neal Martin, April 2017

"The 2016 Le Petit Haut Lafitte has a lovely bouquet of brambly black fruit, cedar and touches of black olive that gain intensity with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied and tight on the entry, displaying succulent, ripe tannin and firm grip. There is a light earthiness to this Le Petit Haut Lafitte, and the Cabernet Sauvignon is very expressive on the tobacco-tinged finish. Excellent."
Neal Martin, December 2018

"The 2016 Le Petit Haut Lafitte is a fabulous second wine from Smith Haut Lafitte. Inky blue/purplish berry fruit, lavender, menthol, licorice and cloves give the Petit Haut Lafitte its striking aromatic complexity. Deep, resonant and exquisitely layered, the 2016 is a real joy to taste. I would cellar it for another year or two. The 2016 has enough depth and pedigree to develop beautifully for the next 10-15 years."
Antonio Galloni, December 2018

"Very dark and lustrous purple. What a lovely texture! Maybe not the densest fruit but reasonably fresh fruit. Delicate hand on the hand brake. Not too much. Just lovely juice. I wonder whether the move to organic is responsible for this delightful wine? Pure pleasure almost already."
Jancis Robinson, April 2017, JancisRobinson.com

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Critics

AG
Antonio Galloni, vinous.com
AM
Allan Meadows, Burghound.com
DC
Decanter, Decanter.com
GM
Gus McLean, AbingdonFineWine.com
JA
Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com
JD
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
JR
Jancis Robinson, JancisRobinson.com
JS
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com
LPB
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, TheWineIndependent.com
NM
Neal Martin, RobertParker.com
RP
Various, RobertParker.com
TA
Tim Atkin, TimAtkin.com
VM
Various, vinous.com

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