A visit to Château Smith Haut Lafitte


Written by:

Joe Becerra

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Chateau Smith Haut Lafite
Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte

A visit to Château Smith Haut Lafitte in Graves

For our third and fourth visits to wineries in Bordeaux, we move to the southern area of Bordeaux to Graves. Today we visit a most charming and friendly winery, Château Smith Haut Lafitte.

Daniel Cathard
Daniel Cathiard

Upon our arrival, a cordial man opens the door for us and welcomes us to our tour and tasting. The man is no other than the owner of Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Daniel Cathiard. He gives us a heart-warming welcome and hands us off to our tour host. It was very impressive to say the least. During our tour, we see Daniel again, this time discussing equipment issues with his staff.  He seems to be a true hands-on owner.

Daniel Cathiard and his wife Florence purchased Château Smith Haut Lafitte in 1990. The winery was in need of some tender loving care and the Cathiards restored the Chateau to its former glory. The two have made many changes in the wine production and their wines today are very well respected. The estate grounds are magnificent, with beautiful works of arts scattered throughout the vineyards.

Our tour guide takes us through the crush pad, where Sauvignon Blanc has just been harvested and is ready to be crushed in a blatter press. Daniel, the winemaker and the assistant winemaker take their first taste of the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc. They seem to be delighted with what they discover in the wine’s potential.  We also visit a room with large wooden fermenting tanks, the barrel room, and the cooperage.

free run grape juice
Sauvignon Blanc juice from the first press – free run juice

Like Chateau Margaux, Château Smith Haut Lafitte is one of the few Bordeaux wineries that have their own cooperage, where the cooper makes and repairs barrels. The cooper can make four barrels in one day.


Now to the tasting of two delicious wines. As you can see from the photo below, our tasting included the 2012 vintage of their famous red wine and the 2012 White Bordeaux. As you can well image, the price of these wines is very high.  A taste of these wines is a very special treat. I must say the white wine, 100% Sauvignon Blanc, is among the best whites I have ever tasted. It sells for 80 Euros.


In addition to the winery and cellars, Château Smith Haut Lafitte has two restaurants, a hotel, and spa. We had a scrumptious Tapas lunch at Rouge. Their other restaurant is La Grand’Vigne, a Michelin two-star restaurant.  One of the highlights for the ladies in our tour group was a visit to the winery’s spa to purchase some Caudalie cosmetics. These successful cosmetics are derived from using grape seeds and grape skins from the Chateau’s wine production. They are said to rejuvenate the skin.

Complete visitor information can be found at the Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte website

Art at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte
Art at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte
  • Joe Becerra

    Joe Becerra has been traveling to wine country and enjoying wine since 1965. He is a retired educator, and now have the time the opportunity to share his wine travel experiences through this Website.