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Haut-Brion

Château Haut-Brion is a French wine, rated a Premier Cru Classé (First Growth), produced in Pessac just outside the city of Bordeaux. It differs from the other wines on the list in its geographic location in the north of the wine-growing region of Graves. Of the five first growths, it is the only wine with the Pessac-Léognan appellation and is in some sense the ancestor of a classification that remains the benchmark to this day.

In addition to the grand vin, Haut-Brion produces a red second wine. Formerly named Château Bahans Haut-Brion, beginning with the 2007 vintage, it was renamed Le Clarence de Haut Brion. The vineyard also produces a dry white wine named Château Haut-Brion Blanc, with a limited release of the second dry white wine, Les Plantiers du Haut-Brion, renamed La Clarté de Haut-Brion for the 2008 vintage. Since 2003, Domaine Clarence Dillon's daughter company, Clarence Dillon Wines, has also released the Bordeaux brand wine named Clarendelle.

Château Haut-Brion devotes 48.35 hectares (119.5 acres) to red grape varieties, with a distribution of 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1%Petit Verdot, and 2.87 ha (7.1 acres) to white grape varieties, distributed with 52.6%Sémillon and 47.4% Sauvignon blanc.

The vineyards are elevated, up to 27 meters, somewhat above the Bordeaux norm. The soil consists of Günzian gravel and some parcels have high contents of clay. All the vineyards are located in a cluster near the château itself and on the other side of the main road.

The selection of optimum rootstocks and clones has been a large task at Château Haut-Brion, pioneered by Jean-Bernard Delmas, which has greatly contributed to the quality of the plant material in the vineyard. The long-term aim has been to lower yields, not by green-harvesting but by ensuring healthy and balanced vines. The average age of the vines is approximately 35 years with the oldest parcels dating back to the 1930s, planted with an average vine density of 8000 vines/ha.

Harvesting takes place by hand and each parcel is worked by the same team of workers to increase the teams' familiarity with the individual vines. The harvest of the white grapes takes place very early due to the proximity to the city of Bordeaux which results in a warmer microclimate and thus earlier ripening. The white grapes are picked as late as possible, sorted and then pneumatically pressed in whole bunches. There is no skin contact and fermentation takes place in oak barrels with indigenous yeast. After sorting in the field, the red grapes are destemmed, crushed and moved to a special double-tank with fermentation taking place in the top and malolactic fermentation in the bottom, using gravity to move the wine. Previously ageing took place in 100% new oak casks lasting 18 months. This has been reduced to 35% new casks and wine destined for the second wine Le Clarence is aged in 25% new oak. The white wine is aged in 40-45% new oak for 10–12 months. Château Haut-Brion has its own cooperage.

The annual production ranges from 10,000 to 12,000 cases (900 to 1,080 hL) of the red grand vin Château Haut-Brion, and from 650 to 850 cases (59 to 76 hL) of Château Haut-Brion Blanc. Of the second wines, the red Le Clarence de Haut-Brion previously named Château Bahans Haut-Brion, has a production of 5,000 to 7,000 cases (450 to 630 hL), and the white La Clarté de Haut-Brion, previously named Les Plantiers du Haut-Brion, has a production of 1,000 to 1,200 cases (90 to 108 hL).

Red

2011

Haut-Brion

Bordeaux

95 RP

Mint 

12x75cl

1

IB

Still Wine

95 Robert Parker

The unbelievably superb 2011 Haut-Brion (a tiny production of 7,600 cases from a blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 19% Cabernet Franc) exhibits a classic nose of subtle smoldering embers, warm rocks, black currants, new saddle leather, spice box and high quality, unsmoked cigar tobacco. The color is a dense ruby/purple to the edge, and the wine cuts a serious as well as broad swath across the palate. The most amazing aspect of this terroir is that the wine, despite all its power and richness, literally dances on the palate, as if it were a 90 pound ballerina. This brilliant 2011 should evolve quickly, hitting its prime in 7-8 years, and drink beautifully for 20-25 years.

 

94-96 Neal Martin

The Haut Brion is a blend of 34.8% Merlot, 18.9% Cabernet Franc and 46.3% Cabernet Sauvignon. The bouquet has a little more thrust than the La Mission with a little more opulence, although perhaps not the same degree of clarity and showing slightly more alcohol (but nothing to get concerned about.) It has good weight, firm rigid tannins and a weightier framework than La Mission. It is concentrated and generous with very good focus, a crescendo of flavours towards the finish and very good grip. A masterful Haut-Brion that is more voluminous than La Mission at present. Tasted April 2012.


Price: £3,659.00

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