Robert Parker (Apr 99)
The 1996 Smith-Haut-Lafitte is the quintessentially elegant Bordeaux. With a dark ruby/purple color, it displays a beautiful presentation of blackberry and cassis fruit nicely dosed with subtle new oak. On the attack, the wine is sweet and pure, with striking symmetry, and a compellingly balanced mid-palate and finish. Although not as big as some blockbusters from this vintage, it is extremely complex (both aromatically and flavor-wise), and impressive for its restraint, subtlety, and impeccable balance. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2016.