AT A GLANCE:
Name of wine estate: Château Smith Haut Lafitte
Wine region: Bordeaux
Standout points: Les Sources de Caudalie luxury hotel and ‘Vinotherapy’ spa; two Michelin-starred La Grand’Vigne restaurant
Winemaker: Daniel Cathiard
Wine style: Classic Graves reds (Cabernet-dominant) and whites
Art among the vines
Few winery owners in the whole of Bordeaux have invested more in their visitor experience than Florence and Daniel Cathiard of Château Smith Haut Lafitte. From the sculpted beauty of the vineyard landscape and the architecture of the château itself, right through to the on-site luxury hotel and spa, Les Sources de Caudalie and the visionary 8ha ‘Land Art forest’ – comprising a stunning art trail with monumental contemporary artworks amid the vines – the indulgences on offer at this the Graves Cru Classé estate are every bit as impressive as the Cathiards’ stately wines.
Graves means gravel
Located on the outskirts of the city of Bordeaux, in the commune of Martillac, Château Smith Haut Lafitte nestles within 78ha of vines. They grow seven red and white varieties – their grand vin being a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant blend – growing on Graves’ distinctive gravelly soils. These gravels, mixed with river stones and semi-precious stones, are thought to contribute to the wine’s subtle smoky aroma.
Wines of distinction
It’s thanks to Florence and Daniel’s unswerving focus on quality that the reputation of the château’s wines has risen under their proprietorship. Organic farming in the vineyard and a combination of age-old techniques (hand-picking, horse-ploughing, beehives to enhance biodiversity) and state-of-the-art technology in the cellar all contribute to a wine range of growing distinction. What better way to appreciate these wines than by following a customised tour of the estate, during which you can visit the Cathiards’ private cellar, taste the estate’s first wines – both white and red – together? A stay at the Sources de Caudalie, located opposite the château, will give you the full ‘deluxe Bordeaux’ experience, with its first-class accommodation, ‘Vinotherapy’ spa, and no fewer than three restaurants – one of which, La Grand’Vigne, has two Michelin stars.