Château Haut Brion, 1er Cru Classé, Pessac Léognan, 2018

  Château Haut-Brion

Château Haut Brion, 1er Cru Classé, Pessac Léognan

We'd already established that Jean-Philippe Delmas and his team had produced a great range of reds by the time we arrived at Haut Brion. What awaited us was something truly remarkable. Many of the younger palates in our team had tasted 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015 and 2016 en primeur, but this swept all these magnificent vintages aside. Even our Chairman with close to fifty years' experience didn't have a reference point for us. This could be a new chapter for Haut Brion. Produced from 49.4% Merlot, 11.9% Cabernet Franc and 38.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, this introspective Haut Brion is the polar opposite to its neighbour La Mission. Whereas Mission was all flare, this is so reserved. After some coaxing noble aromas of gravel and wild fruits emerge - it's quite frustrating, one senses there is so much more to come, but it is not forthcoming. The palate is much more rewarding. Here there's a really stony core, lots of gravelly minerals, a quintessential young Haut Brion. This has an effortless sense of breeding with layered stones and pure, silky crème de mûre, black currant and plum skin, graphite, pepper and fine herbs. Complexity and tension without great density and weight. Now we are starting to catch a glimpse of this wonderful brooding bouquet: crushed rocks, pencil shavings, violets and roses. Such understated power, there is nothing forced, just classic flavours, beautiful poise, huge concentration and so much persistence. Lacy violet scented fruits cling to the palate – this has an immense finish that goes on and on. Although colossal, this has such beautiful pitch, coupled with refreshing saline tannins it leaves the palate yearning for more. Superb, noble, long and very classy.

Contains Sulphites.

About Château Haut-Brion

Haut Brion has arguably been the most consistent First Growth over the past twenty years. The exceptional terroir in the suburbs of Bordeaux has an uncanny knack of producing exquisitel wine whatever the weather throws at it. The estate can be traced back to the 14th century although the current owners can track their lineage back to 1935, when the American financier, Clarence Dillon bought the rather beleaguered estate. Now, Clarence Dillon’s great grandson, Prince Robert of Luxembourg manages the estate, however, much of the success enjoyed by this estate is down to the Delmas family. Three generations have made Haut Brion their life’s work, George (1921-1960), Jean Bernard (1960-2003) and Jean-Philippe (2003-to present).

The vineyards sit upon two gravel croupes and are planted with 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc for the reds and Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon for the whites. Aside from the Grand vins, the estate produce a second wine, Clarence de Haut Brion, previously called Bahans de Haut Brion and Clarte de Haut Brion, previously called Plantiers de Haut Brion.

Appellation: Pessac-Léognan

The region has one first growth, Château Haut-Brion, whilst other renowned Chateaux currently doing well are La Mission-Haut-Brion, Pape-Clément, Smith-Haut-Lafitte and Haut-Bailly. Soils are gravely and well-drained and the plantations are similar in proportion to those of the Médoc, consisting mostly of Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The region is also well known for its long-lived whites that can be varying blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon oaked or unoaked. The most lauded are Domaine de Chevalier, Haut-Brion, Pape-Clement, De Fieuzal, and Laville-Haut-Brion.

Grape Blend: Cab. Sauvignon | Merlot | Cab. Franc

The hallowed Bordeaux trinity of grape varieties that form the stock left bank blend. Cabernet's Sauvignon's acidic, tannic complex qualities marry ideally with Merlot's sweet, softy flesh characteristics, and Cabernet Franc's finesse and freshness. This classic combination has worked so successfully in Bordeaux that it is now mirrored the world over, particularly in warm sunny climates such as the Languedoc, Tuscany, South Africa, Australia and Napa Valley.