When the Cathiards took over this chateau in the early 1990s their intention was toliven up staid Graves with a judicious addition of new oak and a reduction of yields.They have been very successful and this is one of the top Pessac Leognans. April 2001
One can’t say enough about this winery, which may still fly under the radar of most consumers. Thefully mature 2000 displays gorgeous aromas of camphor, lead pencil shavings, unsmoked tobacco, plums, and black currants. With full body, a velvety texture, and beautiful weight, richness, and length, this superb wine should evolve, possibly improve for another 15 years. It’s a beauty!
A sensational effort, and undeniably the finest wine to ever emerge from this estate, the opaque purple-colored 2000 offers scents of tobacco, camphor, graphite, creme de cassis, and licorice. This full-bodied, concentrated effort possesses low acidity, a multi-layered texture, tremendous intensity of flavor, and a persistent finish with considerable ripe, well-integrated tannin. This is a brilliant example of equilibrium and finesse allied to considerable power and flavor. Kudos to the Cathiards. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2025.
Very deep colour. Quite round and full. Alluring and dense though with relatively dry tannins at the end. This wine may take quite a time to evolve.
Good colour. Soft, medium weight nose. Good fruit and well integrated oak. Medium to medium-full body. Plump, fruity and attractive. Decently balanced too. The finish is long. But it lacks a little richness and real breeding and the tannins could have been a bit riper. Good plus. From 2007.
Château Smith Haut Lafitte
Equally known for its red and white wines, Smith Haut Lafitte is particularly notable for producingclean, concentrated and consistent wines – qualities which have enabled it to be one of the mostpopular châteaux in the Graves region.
Pessac-Léognan, Red Bordeaux
Stretching from the rather unglamorous southern suburbs of Bordeaux, for 50 km along the left bank of the river Garonne, lies Graves. Named for its gravelly soil, a relic of Ice Age glaciers, this is the birthplace of claret, despatched from the Middle Ages onwards from the nearby quayside to England in vast quantities. It can feel as though Bordeaux is just about red wines, but some sensational white wines are produced in this area from a blend of sauvignon blanc, Semillon and, occasionally, muscadelle grapes, often fermented and aged in barrel. In particular, Domaine de Chevalier is renowned for its superbly complex whites, which continue to develop in bottle over decades. A premium appellation, Pessac-Leognan, was created in 1987 for the most prestigious terroirs within Graves. These are soils with exceptional drainage, made up of gravel terraces built up in layers over many millennia, and consequently thrive in mediocre vintages but are less likely to perform well in hotter years. These wines were appraised and graded in their own classification system in 1953 and updated in 1959, but, like the 1855 classification system, this should be regarded with caution and the wines must absolutely be assessed on their own current merits.