x
  • Country ranking ?

    336
  • Producer ranking ?

    17
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2035
  • Food Pairing

    Red meat dishes with robust and concentrated flavours.

The Story

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.

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Vintage 1961

1961 A VERY EXCEPTIONAL YEAR
The best vintage since the start of the century. Sumptuous, harmonious, velvety, suave and complex; full of flower and fruit at the same time. An exceptional harmony of smoothed tannin, wood and a very great aromatic length. A unique bottle.

Weather conditions
Sum of temperatures : 3294 °C
Rain : 213 mm
Days where temperature above 30 °C : 27
Harvest : from 12/09/1961 to 25/09/1961

Current vintage notes
A short period of intense cold at the end of May caused exceptional coulure. A hot summer, but above all very dry (the driest on record), and a very fine September yielded a harvest with a maturity and concentration that are simply exceptional."""

 

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Average Bottle Price

2016 2015 2014 2013 2010 2005
2 380€ +4.6% 2 276€ +11.4% 2 043€ +7.4% 1 902€ +0.6% 1 890€ +75.3% 1 078€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

42 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Medium, Ruby red and Dark

ending

Long, Round and Extensive

flavors

Spice, Blackberry, Blackcurrant, Licorice, Leather and Steely

nose

Intense, Round and Complex

recommend

Yes

taste

High in Acidity, High tannin, Concentrated, Well-structured, Perfectly balanced, Full-bodied, Round, Rich, Fresh, Sweet and Sweet tannins

Verdict

Sophisticated and Impressive

Written Notes


Gentleman Jim noted ‘huge mint’ in a spectacular bottle of 1961 Haut Brion. A lot of ‘here here’s followed. The group couldn’t decide whether it was Peppermint Patty or Junior Mints, though. Forest and creamy fruit oozed out of its meaty nose. The palate was chocolaty and tasty, making me sneeze twice with its impressive expression. This was pure deliciousness. It was so exotically minty, it almost made me feel kinky. Long appropriately summed up its finish, and this was ultimately a WOTN (98).

  • 98p
This spectacular vintage had a rough start due to a cold period at the end of May causing severe coulure. After a poor fruit set in late spring, the weather changed into very hot and dry for the summer, actually the driest on record. Very fine weather in September guaranteed ideal ripeness of grapes and extremely high concentration. The rainfall this year was almost half the average in Haut-Brion. Both of the two bottles were in good condition. Decanted for two hours. This is Haut-Brion at its best without a doubt. Very dark, garnet in colour. Gorgeously intense nose – exotic, sweet black fruits and oriental spices. Full-bodied, very well balanced with an excellent structure. This finely concentrated but generously open wine shows a lovely sweet, round and intense ending. A real joy of a wine.
  • 97p
Tasted in September 2006. Deep dark red. Smell of extracted coffee beans, port wine like and a bit peppery on the palate. It seemed that this bottle experienced a kind of heat shock during its storage before it's arrival at our tasting, because this vintage normally is superb for Haut Brion.

Information

Origin

Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Extraordinary

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Very Good

Fake factory

There is a possibility

Glass Time

2h

Inside Information

Wine Advocate #103
Feb 1996
Robert M. Parker, Jr. 100 Drink: 1994 - 2000 $1650-$5647
The 1961 Haut-Brion was pure perfection, with gloriously intense aromas of tobacco, cedar, minerals, and sweet red and black fruits complemented by smoky wood. This has always been a prodigious effort (it was the debut vintage for Jean Delmas). 

The notes for this wine are taken from the description of Series IV - Flight D of the 1995 tasting conducted in Munich by Helga and Hardy Rodenstock. Many years after the tasting from which this note derives allegations were made concerning the authenticity of old and rare bottles of wine sold by Hardy Rodenstock to collectors around the world. The matter has been the subject of numerous articles, litigation and at least one book. Mr. Parker believes that the wines served to him at this tasting were authentic so this note and the others from that specific tasting continue to be posted on eRobertParker.com.
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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

98p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1961  ( Château Haut-Brion )


Gentleman Jim noted ‘huge mint’ in a spectacular bottle of 1961 Haut Brion. A lot of ‘here here’s followed. The group couldn’t decide whether it was Peppermint Patty or Junior Mints, though. Forest and creamy fruit oozed out of its meaty nose. The palate was chocolaty and tasty, making me sneeze twice with its impressive expression. This was pure deliciousness. It was so exotically minty, it almost made me feel kinky. Long appropriately summed up its finish, and this was ultimately a WOTN (98).

7m 2d ago

 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1961  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"Tasted in September 2006. Deep dark red. Smell of extracted coffee beans, port wine like and a bit peppery on the palate. It seemed that this bottle experienced a kind of heat shock during its storage before it's arrival at our tasting, because this vintage normally is superb for Haut Brion."

1y 24d ago

97p
 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1961  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"This spectacular vintage had a rough start due to a cold period at the end of May causing severe coulure. After a poor fruit set in late spring, the weather changed into very hot and dry for the summer, actually the driest on record. Very fine weather in September guaranteed ideal ripeness of grapes and extremely high concentration. The rainfall this year was almost half the average in Haut-Brion.
Both of the two bottles were in good condition.
Decanted for two hours. This is Haut-Brion at its best without a doubt. Very dark, garnet in colour. Gorgeously intense nose – exotic, sweet black fruits and oriental spices. Full-bodied, very well balanced with an excellent structure. This finely concentrated but generously open wine shows a lovely sweet, round and intense ending. A real joy of a wine.
"

1y 5m ago

95p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1961  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"The 1961 Haut Brion was probably the most exotic of the flight, showing much more mesquite to its also smoky quality. There was more cedar and gravel here, and there was this dirty, earthy quality that the other two didn’t have. Balanced and thick, this was a rich, hedonistic wine. There was good structure and lots of barbecue to our third ’61 beauty (95).
"

1y 9m ago

97p
 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1961  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"The 1961 vintage – a frost affected year with a small crop – was another brilliant wine. This was a really richly concentrated wine with deepset mushroom/choco-mint aromas and flavours, fine loose-knit bony tannins and plenty of flavour length (97/100 points). Jean Delmas spoke of this vintage as a very challenging one, its fame perhaps emphasizing that great wine can never be made by over ripe grapes. "

2y 1m ago

98p
 Juha Jormanainen, Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1961  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"Very deep and dark red color, very intense nose with aromas of spices, smoke, cedar and cassis. On palate just gorgeous, wide, big, and aromas of cherries, dark chocolate, dark berries and coffee. Almost sweet and intense finish, a wow -wine! "

2y 5m ago

96p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1961  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"We were almost finished with the Bordeaux, but we had to have a couple ‘61s to close. 1928-1961 is a pretty good lesson when it comes to Bordeaux, and the 1961 Haut Brion was up for the final chapter. Its nose was full of slate and meaty fruit, along with tobacco, forest and mint. Its palate was also minty, and it had some good horsey to it. This was a bottle reconditioned in 1980 or 1982, I couldn’t quite read it. This was a long, smooth and satiny wine (96)."

3y 7m ago

98p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1961  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"Gentleman Jim noted ‘huge mint’ in a spectacular bottle of 1961 Haut Brion. A lot of ‘here here’s followed. The group couldn’t decide whether it was Peppermint Patty or Junior Mints, though. Forest and creamy fruit oozed out of its meaty nose. The palate was chocolaty and tasty, making me sneeze twice with its impressive expression. This was pure deliciousness. It was so exotically minty, it almost made me feel kinky. Long appropriately summed up its finish, and this was ultimately a WOTN (98)."

3y 9m ago

97p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1961  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"
It was time for some red, red wine. Dapper Dave just happened to stop by right before the flight of ’61 Bordeaux, talk about good timing. He also happened to find out the wines in this blind flight before we did, and then proceeded to ruin it for everybody lol. The first wine’s nose was great, with creamy, sexy fruit. Make that nutty, black fruits along with smoke and chocolate butter. Plum and more cream smothered themselves all over the crotch of this sexy wine. Its palate was rich and creamy with lots of gravel and great acidity. Plum up front and slate on the finish had me wondering if this was La Mission, but it was actually the 1961 Haut Brion. Honey started to dominate, and my girl wasn’t even in the room. Gravel and acidity surged back, and The Punisher picked up some ‘red cayenne pepper’ (97)."

4y 3m ago

96p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1961  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"The ’61 theme continued with one of its legendary wines, the 1961 Haut Brion. There was an ever so slight touch of must or cork to its nose that had us trying to figure out if it needed more air, or indeed was affected. Behind that pinch of peculiarity remained the hallmarks of this great wine – tobacco, gravel, smoke, cassis, plum, leather and meat. More rocks joined the party, and the palate was rich and saucy. Flavors of tobacco and chocolate were present, and its finish was satiny, although the wine seemed to gain in intensity. Ultimately, that touch of must didn’t leave the nose, but it was barely noticeable on its palate. I still felt this bottle, while outstanding, was a touch affected and not quite hitting the heights this bottle usually does (96A)."

4y 3m ago

98p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1961  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"The next wine blew the roof off the mother, and rightfully so, since it was a 1961 Haut Brion. It is always great when theory and practice come together, which is what happened in this glorious bottle of HB. All these old wines came from our featured collection in the Jan HK auction; those that bought from it will be very happy. The nose was so deep, possessing ‘an emotional dimension’ per Jeremy Seysses, Mr. Dujac himself. There was an enormous amount of purple and black fruit in this young and expanding wine. The fruit had a return address from chocolate city, and while fresh, it showed sex appeal with its mature, forward and fleshy qualities. The palate was rich, sumptuous and flat-out spectacular. Chunky and long, the HB also had delectable caramel and salt flavors on its finish. The 1961 Haut Brion showed the difference between good and great (98)."

4y 5m ago

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