This year’s New York Wine Experience included two evenings of Grand Tastings, featuring 260 wineries from around the world — pouring vintages that had received a score of 90+ by the Wine Spectator.

One that we especially enjoyed was Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte of Bordeaux, France.

Winery owners Daniel and Florence Cathiard sum up their philosophy in one sentence: “To do everything possible to make each vintage of red or white worthy of our magnificent terroir.”

Their terroir, which includes silica, limestone, gravel and sand, has been used for growing grapes since the 14th century.

The ‘precision winemaking’ of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte comes with an organic slant — including homemade compost, ploughing by a horse in their white wine vineyards, mating disruption to drive away harmful insects, the planting of hedges to enhance biodiversity, the use of infusions to strengthen the vine’s immune defenses, and a mother plantation for vines and root stocks in a protected environment (an island in the Garonne) to have as a clone nursery.

The latest advances in viticulture and winegrowing, implemented at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, include: satellite imagery, soil surveys measuring electric conductivity, a destemming  system intended to keep the grapes whole, computerized optical sorting and gravity flow for moving grapes picked at peak ripeness.

After all that, plus a warm personal touch, the wines produced by Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte have received scores of 90+ from the leading wine critics for every vintage since 2000. For a world-class winery, they remain unpretentious with reasonably priced wines.