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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

2012

Haut-Brion

Bordeaux

95-97 NM

Mint 

12x75cl

1

IB

Still Wine

95-97 Neal Martin

The Grand Vin is a blend of 65.5% Merlot, 32.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc, which is one of the highest percentages of Merlot. It has a ripe, generous bouquet with hints of orange blossom and liquorice infused the red fruit profile. The Merlot clearly defined the character of the 2012. The palate is medium-bodied with a firm grip on the entry – more so than La Mission. This is deeper and more structured than the La Mission, perhaps quite masculine which is quite surprising considering the blend. It has great length. This is one of the great successes of the vintage and there is a clear gap between here and La Mission. Tasted April 2013.

 

93-95 Robert Parker

The 2012 Haut-Brion, which represents only 46% of the production, is a blend of 65% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc. One of the stars of the vintage, it is a complete, medium to full-bodied, soft, round, atypically accessible effort displaying lots of minerality along with red and black fruits, exceptional fragrance and purity, a fleshy mid-palate and a long finish. A remarkable fact in both these wines is that the alcohol levels in 2012 hit 14.8%, which nearly equals the record levels achieved in 2010 – that’s astonishing! This 2012 should drink well 3-4 years after bottling, and last for 20-25 years.


Price: £3,574.00

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