Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte New Sculptor.

One of my very favorite Chateaux to visit at Bella Wine Tours is the magnificent Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte in the Pessac Leognan area. It is definitely worth clicking on their link as there are very few websites that have U2 as backing music!!
Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte is owned by the deeply charismatic and passionate Cathiard family. Daniel and Florence run the Chateau, whilst their daughters run the 5 star Hotel Les Sources de Caudalie which is based in the vineyards and also the hugely successful global Caudalie cosmetic brand.
The Cathiard family work extremely hard and they are evidently one of the movers and shakers in the Bordeaux wine world. However they were complete outsiders when they initially bought the slightly unkempt Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte back in 1990. The Chateau had been run by the negociant firm Louis Eschenauer for a few years and there had not been an enormous re investment. The subsequent vintages of 1991 (frost), 1992 (rain), 1993 (average) were a big lesson for Daniel and Florence Cathiard as they wanted to develop and invest in the vineyards and the property.
However now the Cathiard family are reaping the rewards for their years of passion, vision and investment. The Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc is a truly stunning wine. The minerality and grapefruit zest character are in beautiful balance. Whilst the Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge has progressed in leaps and bounds. Although I generally find it slightly lighter style it normally has a warming savory and spice which are reflective of the excellent quality of the grapes.

One aspect that is always evident when visiting the Chateau are the incredible sculptures that spring up around the vineyards. The 'leaping hare' (by Barry Flanagan) is a beautiful creation between the vines and the restaurant (apt?). The 'scrunched up wine tasting notes' sculpture is in the main lawn area, whilst the 'man with the birds pecking him' overlooks the vines. Some of the sculptures are slightly odd, some of them you have to decipher and work out. But it is fun, innovative and eccentric to have a vineyard and wine estate dotted with statements and feeling.

The latest sculpture by the English sculptor, Charles Hadcock, has been revealed by Jane Anson in Decanter magazine here.

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