Château Smith Haut Lafitte is old. How old? Well, in 1365, when most of the Medoc was marshland, yet to be drained by the Dutch, Smith Haut Lafitte was already under vine. A complete history would be novel-esque so we'll stick to the important stuff. The Bosq family first set up shop here in the mid 14th century. Two hundred years later, Scottish merchant George Smith purchased the property, thus the Smith we find on the label. In the 1800s, the Mayor of Bordeaux ran the show. Today, Smith Haut Lafitte is owned by former olympic skier Daniel Cathiard, who purchased the estate in 1990. Cathiard has put a in ton of work, both in the vineyard and in the chai. Incidentally, he may also have a penchant for Bond movies: at the touch of a button, the floor of the tasting room opens to reveal a hidden passageway down to the cellar.
The vineyard here covers 67 hectares -- 56 red and 11 white. The red vineyard is planted to 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The white vineyard, on the other hand, is planted to 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Sauvignon Gris. Its wine has recently been heralded as one of the top dry whites in Bordeaux. Overall, gravel soils allow excellent natural drainage, and the small stones also reflect the sun's rays, aiding the grapes in attaining maximum ripeness. The result is impressively concentrated and fairly full-bodied yet suave wines, in a modern style. Château Smith Haut Lafitte also produces a second wine, Les Hauts de Smith.