Comparing 2013 and 2011 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Red ( Pessac-Léognan)

2013 Château Smith Haut Lafitte ( Pessac-Léognan) has significant Cabernet( with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon) than its 2011(with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon). Both vintages are reasonably complex by virtue of the similar portion of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

With a broader colour for the vintage, 2013 shows a forward style(violets, menthol and new leather), displaying smoke, roasted coffee, black cherry, dry herbs and earthy profile. It is more ready to drink by now. 2011, on the other hand, is more perfumy, offering liquorice, coffee, earth and jammy black raspberry. While 2013 is more natural and ready to drink now, 2011 has more structure(acidity, tannins), though ABV is 13.5% at the same level, actual and perceived.

Both vintages are aged in 60% new oak. The making is the same. After sorting and pre-fermentation cold maceration, the grapes are whole berry fermented in 30 large, temperature controlled, oak vats that range in size from 60 hectoliters up to 100 hectoliters. A portion of the Merlot is vinified with the stems intact. Malolactic fermentation takes place in a combination of new, French oak barrels, older barrels and vats. All wine is moved by gravity in the cellars of Smith Haut Lafitte. The wine ages on its lees for the first few months of ageing. The red Bordeaux wine of Smith Haut Lafitte is aged in an average of 60% to 70% new, French oak barrels for between 16 to 18 months.

All leading tasters rank 2013 as a safe and consistent wine(RP92, WE92, Tim Atkins 92, WS92), though RP94 has been awarded for 2011. Both wines need time in glass. One Hour full-decanting probably will do the job.

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