Today we are delighted to release two of the very best value wines in Bordeaux, Le Petit Haut Lafitte Rouge 2015 and Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc 2016, the two second wines of the mighty Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte. The 2015 and 2016 vintages were utterly sublime and we often posit that great vintages tend to be great through the stables of the finest Estates. This is certainly true in the case of Le Petit Haut Lafitte Rouge 2015 and Blanc 2016. The Rouge has been awarded 90-92 points from Neal Martin of the Wine Advocate and 92-93 from James Suckling, making it the finest ever vintage. This is priced today at £233 per case of 12, or £19.42 per bottle. The Blanc has been awarded 87-89 from Neal Martin and 90-91 from James Suckling and is priced at £250 per case of 12, or £20.83 per bottle. Both offer a unique opportunity to secure wine from a leading Estate in Bordeaux, from two great vintages, at under £25 per bottle. It is also noteworthy that while Smith Haut Lafitte make 10,000 cases of the Grand Vin Rouge and 2,500 of the Blanc, they make less than 1,000 of Le Petit Haut Lafitte.
Le Petit Haut Lafitte 2015 is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. Neal Martin said upon tasting it in barrel last year, ‘A well-crafted Pessac-Leognan, give this a couple of years in bottle and you will have a lovely wine on your hands.’ While Martin says it is perfect for drinking now, he puts its drinking window up to 2032, which gives you an idea of the immense potential here. The 2015 usurps even the 2009 which is a stunning wine and trades today at £400, while even the 91 scoring 2010 trades at £335. Given the demand this is one to buy on release, the 2015 is currently under-priced and will reward for decades in your cellar.
The first year that Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc was ever released was in 2013, which sold out almost immediately on release, something it has done perennially since. Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc is made during the blending process of Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, subsequently vinified and aged with the same care as the first wine; identical winemaking techniques are used. The final blend is made from 20% old Semillon vines and 80% Sauvignon Blanc, aged 50% in new oak. Neal Martin comments ‘The 2016 has an attractive bouquet with hints of praline infusing the citrus fruit, a background scent of tangerine.The palate is fresh on the entry with crisp acidity’ He provides 2025 as the end of its drinking window, which for a white at this price point is stunning.
Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte needs little introduction, the great Pessac Estate is considered among the finest in the fraternity of Great Bordeaux. In 2015 the Grand Vin Rouge was awarded 95-97 points from Neal Martin and in 2016 the Grand Vin Blanc 93-95. The second wines offered today embody the stunning terroir, fastidious winemaking and pursuit of excellence, yet at a fraction of the price. They are made in much smaller quantity and are incredibly popular on release. They can be enjoyed immediately, but will improve in your cellar for a decade.
Le Petit Haut Lafitte Rouge 2015, 12×75 – £233 IB
90-92 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
The 2015 Le Petit Haut Lafitte is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. It has an intriguing bouquet, touches of shellfish, an estuarine element infiltrating the lifted black fruit, the new oak (20%) cunningly disguised. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin. There is more breeding here than the Les Hauts de Smith, more precision and mineralité conveyed by the finish. A well-crafted Pessac-Léognan, give this a couple of years in bottle and you will have a lovely wine on your hands.
92-93 Points, James Suckling
A firm and focused young red with full body, firm and silky textured tannins and a bright and fresh finish. Persistent and precise. Second wine of Smith Haut-Lafitte.
Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc 2016, 12×75 – £250 IB
87-89 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
The 2016 Le Petit Haut Lafitte Blanc comes from the younger vines of Smith Haut-Lafitte, and is a blend of 20% Sémillon and 80% Sauvignon Blanc. It has an attractive bouquet with hints of praline infusing the citrus fruit, a background scent of tangerine. The palate is fresh on the entry with crisp acidity, lively with a keen thread of acidity, perhaps just dipping a little early towards the finish. Drink over the next five to six years.
90-91 Points, James Suckling
Fruity and savory white with cooked-apple and lemon character. Medium to full body and a minerally finish. 80% sauvignon and 20% semillon.
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