Page 1

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. Château 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. » Château 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 Châteaux 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. Very favourable summer

Low temperatures and high precipitation: vine cycle delay

Autumn precipitation

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

Major Vine Growing Steps Budbreak

2013 10th - 12th of April


13th - 25th of June


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

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

Measurements performed in our vineyard by Fabien François Fort, Chef de Culture at Château 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 Château a demanding year in the vineyard.

Harvest Young vines reds


Cabernet sauvignon

Sauvignon blanc

Cabernet franc Petit verdot

Sauvignon gris Sémillon Young vines - whites

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

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. That’s 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 28°C, 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 bâtonnages.  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 Château’s cooperage with a selection of woods from the greatest oak forests of France.

« Bio-Precision » This approach, native of the Château, 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.

Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blends Château Smith Haut Lafitte Les Hauts de Smith Le Petit Haut Lafitte Château Smith Haut Lafitte Les Hauts de Smith Le Petit Haut Lafitte

Cab. Sauv. 60 50 60

Merlot 35 50 40

Sauv. Blanc 90 100 80

Cab. Franc 4 Sémillon 5 20

Petit Verdot 1 Sauv. Gris 5 -

% New Barrels 60 20 20 % New Barrels 50 50 50

Château Cantelys and Château Le Thil Blends Château Cantelys Château Le Thil Château Cantelys

Cab. Sauv. 70 5 Sauv. Blanc 50

Merlot 30 95

Cab. Franc Sémillon 45

Petit Verdot Sauv. Gris 5

% New Barrels 20 30 % New Barrels 50

Analysis % Alc. Vol.


Cabernet Sauvignon et Franc

12.2 - 13.1

3.55 - 3.68


12.2 - 13.4

3.5 - 3.65



12.1 - 13.5

2.9 - 3.15

Sauvignon Gris






Petit Verdot Sauvignon Blanc

Production Breakdown

Your tasting notes

Château Smith Haut Lafitte Grand Cru Classé de Graves - Pessac-Léognan - 33650 Martillac - France Tel : +33 (0) 5 57 83 11 22 - Fax : +33 (0) 5 57 83 11 21 Commercial Contact: Reservation Contact: More information on

And follow us on

Watch the 2013 harvest video

The vintage 2013 at SHL en primeurs  

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