Le Petit Haut Lafitte Rouge

Le Petit Haut Lafitte Rouge

Pessac-Léognan 2016

Bordeaux, France

Regular price£155.00
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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Antonio Galloni, vinous.com
Allan Meadows, Burghound.com
Decanter, Decanter.com
Gus McLean, AbingdonFineWine.com
Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
Jancis Robinson, JancisRobinson.com
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, TheWineIndependent.com
Neal Martin, RobertParker.com
Various, RobertParker.com
Tim Atkin, TimAtkin.com
Various, vinous.com

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