The second label from Smith Haut Lafite is a selection of the young vines that go into the Chateau Smith Haut Lafite bottling. Les Hauts Smith is vinified the same way as their Grand Vin, and the team loves this wine so much that they decided to build an environmentally friendly "stealth cellar" in the forest to make this wine. This begins with organically grown Merlot (55%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (45%) vinified whole cluster in small wood vats with aging for 14 months in 20% new French oak barrels made on site. The purity of fruit in this wine is fantastic, with some nice structure for aging and terroir inflections that come through, adding intriguing complexity. This is one of our top picks in the 30-40 dollar range, and with Chateaus needing to justify high pricing for their top wines, much of the juice that would go into their first label wine is now declassified to the second or even third label wines. This means that the complete range of wines is seeing a higher level of quality, and the second-label wines are as good as they have ever been. The 2015 Les Hauts de Smith is a pretty serious second-label bottling that Bordeaux drinkers should have no trouble enjoying now.
Antonio Galloni 91 points! "The 2015 Les Hauts de Smith is gorgeous. Dark, pliant and inviting, it exudes the character that makes the wines from this site so appealing. Plush fruit and soft contours add to the 2015's considerable appeal. Dark red cherry, plum and a range of more lifted floral/spice notes add nuance."
Decanter 91 points! "Majority Merlot (55% with the remainder Cabernet Sauvignon), with a gourmet edge of blackberry fruits, chocolate and caramel hints. This is a vintage that really suits Merlot and so suits the style of Merlot-dominant Les Hauts de Smith. (It’s better than the 2016 that I also tasted, where you should look for the Cabernet-led Le Petit Haut Lafitte instead.) Soft tannins that are fleshy and easy to love. Aged in 20% new oak."