Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ch. Smith Haut Lafitte 2002 and 2003

We broke from the strict Bordeaux 2003 trend last night to compare the 2002 and 2003 vintages of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte's red wine from the Pessac-Leognan appellation. I recently tasted the 1995 and found it a little lacking in stuffing, but the newest vintages were firmer and rounder. Known as a graceful wine, neither overwhelmed with fruit, earth, or tannin. Not surprisingly, the wines were very similar with complex fruits and spices combined with a long, tight finish. The most notable difference was in the mid-palate, where the 2003 flowed over the tongue while the 2002 barely paused. This difference made the 03 feel fuller and more coherent from the front to the back of the mouth. While the 2003 was certianly better, the difference will only be meaningful for most drinkers (myself included) in the long term. Over the next few years, those looking for a ready to drink Bordeaux would be advised to purchase the much cheaper 2002.

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