WA 92 points, WS 91 points, JS 93 points
Yield : 25 hl/ha, before selection of Smith Haut Lafitte, les Hauts de Smith, les Hauts de Maujan and rosé Blend / Grape varieties : 60 % cabernet sauvignon / 32 % merlot / 7 % cabernet franc / 1% petit verdot
The grapes were fermented whole in wooden vats with periodic pigeage (punching down): 28-30° C The wine is aged on its lees for 18 months in wooden barrels, 80% of which are new and come from our integrated cooperage. The wine is racked once then aged in distinct batches. Average age of the vines: 38 years
2008 – a late developing vintage, where early terroirs are such a great advantage!
After a mild winter and a quite early start to vine growth, spring 2008 was one of the coolest in the last few years, highlighted on 7 April by a severe spring frost which hit some of the Merlot and the white wine varieties and limited final production volumes. The Merlot vines had difficulty flowering and led to poor fruit set and quantities of undeveloped grapes in the bunches or ‘hens and chickens’. Fortunately, flowering was faster and more uniform in the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties.
Summer remained cool overall and the delay in vine growth was not made up. The initial colour change of the grapes heralding the onset of ripening took place in mid-August, around ten days later than the previous year.
The summer of 2008 was quite dry with only 88 mm of rainfall in July and August, which produced a moderate lack of water in our gunzien gravel soils which was very conducive to polyphenol production, both anthocyanins and tannins. In the end, the harvest was very late. The old Merlot vines were harvested on 13 October 2008 and the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes were picked on 18 October. The red wine grapes had never been harvested so late!
This wine displays a very dark red robe. The bouquet is expressive and very complex with hints of black and red fruit (cherry and blackcurrant) smoky notes and touches of flint, spices, liquorice and clove. This wine is dense and big on the palate with a nice velvety tannin structure. It then opens up to reveal an attractive balance of concentration and aromatic harmony. And the spicy hints of clove, the blackcurrant and liquorice come back to the fore along with the characteristic note of gunflint so distinctive to our gravelly terroir.
The 2008 vintage is clearly a powerful, concentrated, well-balanced, silky wine that will age well.