Château Smith Haut Lafitte is situated in the Pessac-Léognan appellation of the Graves region, south of the city of Bordeaux. During the 1959 Classification of Graves, Château Smith Haut Lafitte was classed as Grand Cru Classé. The domaine dates to 1365 when vines were first planted on a gravelly plateau known as Lafitte. Scottish wine merchant George Smith acquired the estate in 1720, adding his name to the property. Today, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte is owned and managed by Daniel and Florence Cathiard, who purchased it in 1990, investing considerable sums in its modernization. In addition to the château, vineyards and winery, the estate also comprises a 5-star hotel, a 2-Michelin star restaurant, and the luxury Les Sources de Caudalie spa which offers grape-based treatments and health-minded cuisine.
Pessac-Léognan was designated as an appellation in 1987, and corresponds to the northern part of the Graves region. Château Smith Haut Lafitte has a reputation as “quintessential Graves”. Its 78 hectares of vines sit in a single block upon gravel deposited by the Garonne River millions of years ago. The gravel is made up of flint, quartz and quartzite, providing not only excellent drainage but also a mirror effect, reflecting the sun’s rays for optimum ripening. The classic Graves soils combined with a temperate maritime climate yield highly distinctive wines - both red and white.
The Cathiards farm sustainably and achieved organic certification in 2019. Many biodynamic practices are also employed, and horses are used to to plow the more fragile soils. Efforts to enhance biodiversity include the introduction of beehives and orchards, with trees planted amongst the vines. The estate has its own cooperage, allowing custom-production of 70% of its barrels. Combining the best of old and new, the wines are made in the ultra-modern, state-of-the-art winery. Fully expressing their superb terroir, they are highly structured and complex - the reds are fantasticly smoky with a velvety texture, and the rich, aromatic white is considered one of the foremost examples of white Bordeaux.