The vintage 2013 at SHL en primeurs

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    07-Mar-2016

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Complete analysis of the 2013 vintage at Chteau Smith Haut Lafitte by Fabien Teitgen, Technical Director.

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  • THE VINTAGE 2013

    Terroir, reactivity, precision and intransigence!

    Early terroir: the gunzian gravel soil, warm and well-drained, at Smith Haut Lafitte favours a good maturation of the grapes and the clayey nodules of the sub-soil limits the extreme hydric stress. This early terroir, aerated and healthy, where the vine is deeply rooted allows the plant to grow with more consistency during its cycle all year long and therefore it fights against the weather bad temper.

    Maximum reactivity: two grape reception area lines at SHL new vat room and at the Stealth Cellar, associated with the efforts of over 200 harvesters enabled us to harvest extremely fast right upon maturity reached.

    Technical precision: dividing up plots according to the levels of grape maturity, thanks to a perfect knowledge of the terroir and the monitoring of the vine leaves development with satellite imagery, allowed to vinify individually the different terroir entities in small wooden vats at SHL new vat room.

    Qualitative intransigence: grapes selections in the vineyard, then at the vat room manual pre-sorting at crates reception, destemming through vibrations, optical computerized sorting and final manual sorting. Only perfect berries are vinified and the 100% gravity operated new vat rooms respect their integrity all the way to the vats.

    Chteau Smith Haut Lafitte white With a pale yellow light colour, this wine offers an open and expressive nose of fresh white fruits and citrus fruits notes (white grapefruit, lemon, white peach), acacia flower and sweet spices. On the palate the balance is of a great white: a beautiful acid backbone associated with an unctuous richness. The attack is forthright then the wine offers a rich matter, a great length and a bright and elegant finale of white fruits, spices and flowers aromas, with subtle saline notes and other earthier notes of flint stone.

    Chteau Smith Haut Lafitte red With a vivid dark red colour, this wine whose nose is still quite reserved reveals a very bordelaise complexity and freshness of red fruits (strawberry, raspberry, cherry), spices, clove, star anise, liquorice and blond tobacco. The mouth is of good concentration with a tannic texture both unctuous and structuring. The attack is well-balanced, the middle mouth is unctuous and the aromatic long finale offers beautiful notes of fresh red fruits, spices and flint stone.

    By Fabien Teitgen - Technical Director

    The Chteaux that were able to put the means up to their ambitions will be without doubt rewarded.

    Florence Cathiard - Owner

    About the Bio-Precision: in 2013 it is precisely the Precision that saved the Bio.

    Daniel Cathiard - Owner

  • Climatology

    2013: The year of climatic risks, the year of vigilance. Rainy winter recharging groundwater tables and ideal budbreak.

    Cold and rainy May and June: flowering disruption (flower-abortion coulure and berry-shot millerandage on merlots) and delay in the vine growing cycle (around 2 weeks).

    Beautiful sunny summer with cool nights and no extreme temperatures preserving the grape acidity.

    Late veraison yet fast and in good conditions despite the heterogeneity induced by the difficult flowering.

    End September and October on the edge: great reactivity required for qualitative harvest.

    Measurements performed by a weather station located at the heart of Chteau Smith Haut Lafitte vineyard.

    Major Vine Growing Steps

    2013

    Normal budbreak, late and heterogeneous flowering depending on varieties, late and quick veraison.

    Budbreak 10th - 12th of April

    Flowering 13th - 25th of June

    Veraison 10th - 11th and 20th - 22th of August

    Measurements performed in our vineyard by Fabien Franois Fort, Chef de Culture at Chteau Smith Haut Lafitte.

    Viticulture

    The years spent on research for the ideal plant - terroir balance in the vineyard were rewarding, limiting the impact of the coulure and favouring grape maturity on this vintage delayed by the difficult months of May and June. Although spared by spring frost and summer storms, it was for all at the Chteau a demanding year in the vineyard.

    Harvest

    Reactivity, precision and intransigence for a both late and compact harvest.

    Autumn

    precipitation

    Very favourable summer Low temperatures and

    high precipitation:

    vine cycle delay

    Young vines - whites

    Sauvignon blanc

    Smillon

    Young

    vines

    reds

    Sauvignon gris

    Merlot Cabernet sauvignon

    Cabernet franc

    Petit verdot

  • Vinification

    The guarantee of qualitative grapes comes directly from the harvest reactivity. The window of action, due to the delay of the vine cycle and the autumn weather pressure, was short. Thats why over 200 harvesters were required and 2 grape reception area lines to bring in a yet quite small production but extremely fast: 12 days for the whites

    and 13 days for the reds, a record.

    Vinification of the reds: vatting using gravity, fermentation of whole berries in small oak vats at 28C, manual pigeage - punching down of the cap -, ageing lot by lot on the lees for 18 months in barrels.

    Vinification of the whites: direct pressing of the berries in neutral atmosphere to prevent from oxygen contact and preserve full aromatic potential, fermentation in barrels, ageing on the lees 12 months with btonnages.

    Average yields: 28 hl/ha for the whites and 25 hl/ha for the reds before selection of the different wines.

    Barrels made at the Chteaus cooperage with a selection of woods from the greatest oak forests of France.

    Bio-Precision

    This approach, native of the Chteau, aims to match the most innovative viticulture and vinification techniques with the greatest respect of the living: the soil and the vine. This method promotes the bio diversity and the balance of the vineyard ecosystem through hedge plantation, production of organic compost or horse ploughing among other techniques. It focuses as well on preserving the genetic diversity of the vine and therefore the complexity of our wines thanks to vine graft, clone selection or rootstock mother vine on the La Lande island on the Garonne river.

    Chteau Smith Haut Lafitte Blends

    Cab. Sauv. Merlot Cab. Franc Petit Verdot % New Barrels Chteau Smith Haut Lafitte 60 35 4 1 60 Les Hauts de Smith 50 50 - - 20 Le Petit Haut Lafitte 60 40 - - 20

    Sauv. Blanc Smillon Sauv. Gris % New Barrels Chteau Smith Haut Lafitte 90 5 5 50 Les Hauts de Smith 100 - - 50 Le Petit Haut Lafitte 80 20 - 50

    Chteau Cantelys and Chteau Le Thil Blends

    Cab. Sauv. Merlot Cab. Franc Petit Verdot % New Barrels Chteau Cantelys 70 30 - - 20 Chteau Le Thil 5 95 - - 30

    Sauv. Blanc Smillon Sauv. Gris % New Barrels Chteau Cantelys 50 45 5 50

    Analysis

    % Alc. Vol. pH

    Cabernet Sauvignon et Franc 12.2 - 13.1 3.55 - 3.68

    Merlot 12.2 - 13.4 3.5 - 3.65

    Petit Verdot 12.4 3.63

    Sauvignon Blanc 12.1 - 13.5 2.9 - 3.15

    Sauvignon Gris 13.3 3.1

    Semillon 12.5 3.09

    Production Breakdown

  • Your tasting notes

    Chteau Smith Haut Lafitte

    Grand Cru Class de Graves - Pessac-Lognan - 33650 Martillac - France Tel : +33 (0) 5 57 83 11 22 - Fax : +33 (0) 5 57 83 11 21

    Commercial Contact: d.ornon@smith-haut-lafitte.com Reservation Contact: visites@smith-haut-lafitte.com

    More information on www.smith-haut-lafitte.com Watch the 2013 harvest video

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