I love a good red Bordeaux. These wines tend to really express the area in which the grapes are grown- they have a strong essence of “terrior,” if you will. The gravel and stone top soil in Pessac-Leognan is well-suited for Cabernet Sauvignon, and so red wines from here are predominantly Cabernet-based and with lots of earthy black-fruit notes.
Smith Haut Lafitte is one of sixteen “Cru classe” estates that were recognized in the 1953 Classification of Graves wine. “Le Petite” is a second wine to Haut Lafitte’s “Grand vin,” or the winery’s best for each vintage. In my experience, second wines are usually super values because the winemakers often treat these lots of grapes with the same care as the lots that go into the first wines, and they use similar winemaking techniques when producing them.
Second wines are usually priced well below the first wines. For example, “Le Petit” is currently around $24 in most Costco clubs while Vivino users report the namesake wine as having an average price of $95.
Le Petite has a nose of barnyard, rose petals, clove, and blackberries. The color is deep garnet with translucent edges and fast legs. On the palate, the wine is quite dry with a black currant and wet stone core. The finish is complex and evolves with amaretto and cedar. This wine is well-built and has enough acid and tannin to stand up to the fattiest roasted meat. The blend is 60% Cabernet and 40% Merlot.
I enjoy drinking this on its own, but it is definitely a food wine. Soft and earthy cheeses like brie or Saint Albray and slow-cooked red meat dishes will pair wonderfully with this. For those of you with a sweet tooth, try this along side an extra dark chocolate with berries or a warm brownie sundae.
Le Petite is currently $39.99 at Total Wine and averages around $35 online (not including shipping).Costco has it for well below these prices. It’s ready to drink now but will also be excellent in a few years. Wine Spectator gives it an 89, which is a pretty decent rating for a Bordeaux. When I first saw this wine in the wood, I suspected that it was a bargain. After tasting it, I feel confident to say that it is.I give it one extra point for value.
CostcoWineBlog.com Rating: 90
Purchased in Gwinnett, Georgia