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Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte

Ranked as a Grand Cru Classé for its red wines in the 1959 classification of Graves wines, Château Smith Haut Lafitte is located in the commune of Martillac in the Graves region of Pessac-Léognan. Its rich history begins in the 14th century when Verrier Du Bosq is recorded as having signed the deeds for a few rows of vines. In the mid-18th century the estate was acquired by Scottish wine merchant George Smith, who named it after himself and built the château which stands today. Lafitte is not the name of a person, but derives from the Latin “ficat” or “stone”, which became “fitte” in the Gascon dialect, and refers to a gravel hilltop, like those the vines of Smith Haut Lafitte are planted on. 1842 saw the estate passing to the Mayor of Bordeaux, Lodi-Martin Duffour-Dubergier, who was also involved in establishing the 1855 classification. In the early 20th century the wines of Smith Haut Lafitte were being sold by the négociant firm Eschenauer, headed up by the famous Louis Eschenauer, whose friendliness earned him the nickname “Uncle Louis” and who then bought the estate in 1958. In 1990 Eschenauer sold the property to the present owners Daniel and Florence Cathiard, who met when they were both on the French Olympic ski team in the 1960's. 80 hectares are under vine in a single block, planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Sauvignon Gris on precious Graves Gunzienne gravel soils. They propagate their own vines from their vine nursery on Ile de Lalande, a river island of the Garonne. Smith Haut Lafitte apply many biodynamic principles and farm organically, gaining organic certification in 2019. Their 1,000 barrel underground cellar for their red wines is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology, and they have an additional cellar for their white wines. It is one of the few Bordeaux estates that produce both red and white wines. Innovative producers, in 2014 they installed the world's first system that recycles the CO2 produced during fermentation. The wines age for between 12 and 18 months in oak, 60% new. In 1993 they hired a master cooper, and now almost all of their barrels are made on site; they are one of the very few Bordeaux château to have their own cooperage. The Cathiard family also created the exclusive Caudalie beauty care products which are made from grape seeds and vine cuttings. The trademark crest on the bottles of Smith Haut Lafitte wines is symbolic, and represents three branches for George Smith's three children: a fleurs-de-lis for the founding Verrier family and a crescent moon for the port of Bordeaux - the “Port of the Moon”. Château Smith Haut Lafitte is now one of the leading estates in Graves and its style is one of distinctive aromatic profiles with subtly smoked whites and smooth, complex reds. These are remarkable, incredibly textured wines, seductive and sensual!