46% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Cabernet Franc
The only property from outside the Médoc to be included in the 1855 Classification, Haut-Brion’s viticultural history can be traced back further than its Médoc First Growth counterparts. Samuel Pepys even mentions it in his diaries. Situated in what is now Pessac-Léognan, the property finds itself now in the suburbs of the ever-encroaching city of Bordeaux. After falling into a state of disrepair the estate was purchased in 1935 by Clarence Dillon, an American financier, since then it has enjoyed a steady and continual resurgence to a position of pre-eminence. Dillon’s great-grandson, Prince Robert of Luxembourg, now runs the estate, but a key influence in the reputation which Haut-Brion enjoys today is the Delmas family. George Delmas was manager and winemaker until 1960, when his son Jean-Bernard took over. Jean- Bernard was a visionary figure, responsible for a number of important innovations. The vineyard is planted to 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Franc. A stunning white wine is also made, from a part of the vineyard which is 63% Semillon and 37% Sauvignon Blanc.
What The Critics Say
100/100 Robert Parker
"What a blockbuster effort! Atypically powerful, one day, the 2009 Haut-Brion may be considered to be the 21st century version of the 1959. It is an extraordinarily complex, concentrated effort made from a blend of 46% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Cabernet Franc with the highest alcohol ever achieved at this estate, 14.3%.
Even richer than the perfect 1989, with similar technical numbers although slightly higher extract and alcohol, it offers up a sensational perfume of subtle burning embers, unsmoked cigar tobacco, charcoal, black raspberries, wet gravel, plums, figs and blueberries. There is so much going on in the aromatics that one almost hesitates to stop smelling it. However, when it hits the palate, it is hardly a letdown. This unctuously textured, full-bodied 2009 possesses low acidity along with stunning extract and remarkable clarity for a wine with a pH close to 4.0.
The good news is that there are 10,500 cases of the 2009, one of the most compelling examples of Haut-Brion ever made. It requires a decade of cellaring and should last a half century or more. Readers who have loved the complexity of Haut-Brion should be prepared for a bigger, richer, more massive wine, but one that does not lose any of its prodigious aromatic attractions."
17.5/20 Jancis Robinson
"57% of the crop went into this. The alcohol level was 14% in 2005 when there was lots of Merlot, but in 2009 when the assemblage was 46% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, it reached 14.3%, the highest ever. What problems did this cause? Jean-Philippe Delmas was asked. 'To find the right yeast.' He smiled, adding, 'and the fermentation was very long: three weeks with a very long malolactic fermentation.' This was the first time they had such high alcohols with Cabernet. Dark crimson with a little more blue than La Mission. LOVELY supple exciting nervy nose with a great deal of integrity and complexity already.
Reminds me a little of Ch Margaux in its immediate appeal and class, even if the actual aromas are different (though equally terroir-driven). Real knockout stuff with lovely suppleness on the palate and real grace. Not a blockbuster, amazingly; it seems beautifully balanced. It has the same dense tannic charge but with a bit more fruit and less austerity than La Mission. Very long. So it's definitely Haut-Brion, just more concentrated than usual! Lots of pleasure and luxury."
97-100/100 James Suckling
"A dark and brooding wine, delivering blackberry, black licorice, mahogany, subtle grilled meat and raspberry jam. Full-bodied, with layers of ripe and chewy tannins. Loads of fruit yet subtle and reserved, and a long, long finish. Super fruit, yet held back. A 2005 in the remaking, but perhaps slightly supercharged."
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