There is an amazing dual hit of black fruit and fine-grained tannins here, which is rounded off with a wonderful creaminess. The fruit is encased in a huge structure, which is not always easy to assess when tasting en primeur, but it has a lovely fleshiness to it and the wine is multi-layered with flavours evolving in the mouth. Notes of cocoa, vanilla and tar show towards the finish and it all ends completely seamlessly. The tannins are extremely ripe and well-integrated. Ch. Haut-Brion is often understated at this stage, which serves to underline how fine this wine will be.
Château Haut-Brion Thomas Jefferson, the american ambassador to Paris and later President of the United States of America, visited Haut Brion on May 25th 1787 commenting in his journals about the soils of the vineyards as well as mentioning that there were four vineyards of first quality Château Margaux, Château Latour Ségur, Château Haut Brion and Château La Fite. He also wrote:"Haut Brion is a wine of the first rank and seems to please the American palate more than all the others that I have been able to taste in France.“ Jean de Pontac began constituting the Haut-Brion vineyard, in the Graves region, in 1525.
His descendants went on to produce "New French Claret," the precursor of today's great wines. Their efforts enabled Arnaud III de Pontac to sell his wine under the estate's name as early as 1660. Called “vin de Pontac”, then Haut-Brion, it gained a fine reputation and enormous success in London. The first of the Bordeaux great growths was born. Through the centuries, the owners and managers of Haut-Brion have been obsessed with perpetuating the château's reputation for quality. Classified a First Growth in 1855, Haut-Brion has done everything possible ever since then to maintain its standing. To perpetuate its Grand Cru status, an estate and its constituent parts have to be maintained over the centuries, suitable grape varieties for each plot have to be chosen, and a relentless selection process carried out. Today, a great American family, the Dillons, has been continuing this tradition for seventy years.
The decade culminated with the hot year of 1949, when Bordeaux was hit by an unprecedented dry spell. Cold, rainy weather had hindered germination, which resulted in an exceptionally uneven distribution of pollen. This, in turn, made for a record small crop. With the arrival of summer, Bordeaux was subjected to a heat wave the likes of which it had never seen before. Temperatures as high as 43°C were recorded at Médoc.
Early September brought massive thunderstorms followed by a period of ideal weather, which lasted until the harvest at the end of the month. The already small crop was made even smaller, but it produced a fantastically juicy wine that was extremely delicious even at a young age. The wines themselves have more backbone and are more elegant than the 1947 vintage.
Indeed, these are missing the concentration which is found in the 1945. Mouton-Rothschild, however, is a capable challenger of even the best 1945s and 1947s, with its ample body and balance. The dry white wines produced were also outstanding, even though they are no longer very drinkable. Conversely, the Sauternes grapes picked at the end of a record dry October produced unique, noble rot wines.
Château Haut-Brion’s tasting notes :
AN EXCEPTIONAL YEAR
The structure, still tannic and powerful, surprises. For such bottles, it is necessary
to wait longer. A concentrated richness, very complex, envelop the palate.
The tannins are still young and somewhat excessive. A wine of rare power.
Sum of temperatures : 3458 °C
Rain : 286 mme
Current vintage notes
A dry year, but above all very hot.
A very great vintage, difficult to make because
of the heat. Some wines suffered because of it, but on the whole it is a year of
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
|1 329€ +6.1%||1 253€ +4.5%||1 199€ +28.4%||934€ +7.0%||873€ +17.2%||745€ +9.1%||683€ -22.3%||879€ +88.2%||467€ +50.2%||311€|