At Château Smith Haut Lafitte, a fully operational gravity-fed fermentation room since 2013 preserves the integrity of the grapes. The berries are sorted manually, then on vibrating tables, and finally through precise optical sorting with photographic analysis. The grapes, gently transported by gravity to the wooden vats for fermentation, are of optimal quality and maturity, retaining the terroir’s identity. This precision allows for the creation of unique wines, repeatedly recognized among the world’s best. The underground cellar, with its barrels, ages several vintages of red wines. Alongside the cellar dedicated to whites, they provide a space for the Cellar Master and their team to oversee the symbiotic relationship between wine and oak for 12 to 18 months.
The 80-hectare vineyard of Château Smith Haut Lafitte is characterized by its 7 red and white grape varieties grown in a single plot. Nicknamed the “Graves of Graves,” the estate owes its reputation to its wines with smoky notes and its Gunzian Gravel soils, rich in pebbles and semi-precious stones. The soil provides natural drainage, compelling the roots to draw water and minerals from deep within. Moreover, the sun’s reflective mirror effect on the stones contributes to the grapes’ ripening, adding a unique touch to the estate’s wines.
In 1993, Daniel Cathiard integrated the expertise of a master cooper to produce nearly all of the barrels for the Château, enhancing the symbiosis between wood and wine. The preservation of these rare skills has earned the estate the label “Living Heritage Company.” Oak from the beautiful French forests is meticulously chosen based on their terroir and fine grains, imparting elegant wines thanks to three decades of experience in mastering aromas.
In 2019, after three years of conversion, the château obtained the Organic Agriculture Label. For nearly a decade, it has incorporated principles of biodynamic agriculture, using medicinal plants to prevent vine diseases. Cultivations of yarrow, horsetail, and tansy are sprayed with the help of horses. Biodiversity is promoted through a forest, orchards, beehives, and vegetable gardens. A preserved nursery on Lalande Island allows for the cultivation of their own rootstocks, maintaining a unique identity across grape varieties. Agriculture is combined with advanced technologies to precisely monitor grape maturation.
As a pioneer in this field, the château takes pride in offering visitors a unique experience. The œnotourism offering invites you to delve into the heart of the terroir, where you can discover the vineyard, winemaking facilities, the cellars for white and red wines, and even take part in tastings or stroll through the majestic vineyards. The engaging and informative guided tours, led by wine experts, will allow you to explore the trade’s secrets and the environmentally-respectful philosophy. At Smith Haut Lafitte, they believe that œnotourism is essential for sharing the passion for wine with the world, creating memorable moments, and building authentic connections with visitors.