x
  • Country ranking ?

    3 446
  • Producer ranking ?

    72
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2050
  • Food Pairing

    Lamb with aubergines

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 1996

Château Haut-Brion’s tasting notes :

A GOOD YEAR
This vintage is a wine full of contradictions and difficult to make out. The grapes were acid, but produced a subtle wine. The sugar level was unusually high but the phenolic ripeness altered depending on the different varieties.
The Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon seemed riper than the Merlots. The quality was very close to the last year's crop, but the structure of the wine was different.
Missing the tannins of the '95, now the '96 tannins finished with a light bitter taste in the mouth. The wine was ample with a good structure and a pleasant harmony. It is a
very good wine and will make an excellent Haut-Brion.

Weather conditions
Sum of temperatures : 3254 °C
Rain : 516 mm
Days where temperature above 30 °C : 24
Harvest : from 16/09/1996 to 04/10/1996

Current vintage notes
The climate of 1996 was mostly characterized by its great irregularity. Except for
a few days in July, there were no long hot periods. It began to rain rather late in
August. The first half of September was temperate but it rained all the time during
the second half. Altogether the summer was average with a few nice intervals.


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 vineyards are on a small rise about 27 metres above sea level. It contains a very deep layer of gravel – perfect for growing wine. Just over 48 hectares are planted with 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Franc.
Haut Brion is together with Latour the Premier Cru that has been most consistent for the last 100 years, never going through a phase where their wines were not worthy of their Premier Cru status. This is not taken for granted by the present management and they are making great efforts to not only keep the quality of their wine but also always trying to improve small details. Fortunately, they are not using extraction machines or other voodoo methods of concentration, but rather seeking concentration by lowering the yield per vine. This has subtly changed the style of the wine to make it more approachable earlier but without losing the true character of Haut Brion - the connaisseurs Premier Cru.
Soil: gravel soil with a subsoil of clay and sand
Production area: 48 ha
Grape varieties: 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 42% Merlot
Average age of vines: 37 years
Harvest method: by hand with the sorting out on trailers
Winemaking: computer controlled pumping-overs and thermoregulation according to the temperatures of the must and the marc
Ageing: 18-22 months in 80% new barrels


Château Haut-Brion
Pessac, France
Tel. +33 5 56 00 29 30
Fax. +33 5 56 98 75 14
www.haut-brion.com/home/en/
info@haut-brion.com

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Information

Origin

Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Value For Money

Good

Investment potential

Average

Fake factory

None

Highlights

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