La Clarté de Haut-Brion is a rare and exceptional white wine, as much due the very small scale of its production as to its composition.
It is effectively the offspring of Domaine Clarence Dillon's two prestigious white wines: Château Haut-Brion Blanc and Château La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc. This second-label white wine was given its new name beginning with the 2009 vintage.
Prior to this vintage, the second-label wine combining selected plots from both Château Haut-Brion Blanc and Château La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc was known as Les Plantiers du Haut-Brion.
This wine is the result of the blend of two second wines from our two estates. Even when still very young it will give wine lovers the opportunity to get to know the expression of the Semillon (which makes up most of the blend) in a dry white wine. Fruity and floral aromas impart great freshness and unique complexity to this wine, which is a fine introduction to its elders.
Fermentation in oak casks
Length of initial maturing period in oak casks: 9-12 months in 40-50% new wood
Average production: 1,000 to 1,200 cases
The 2015 vintage: Following in the footsteps of the greatest vintages
Spring 2015 (April, May, and June) was very dry. This was conducive to excellent flowering conditions, both quick and even. July was also a dry month. The effects of water stress were obvious in plots with the youngest vines. Fortunately, it finally rained on July 26th (14 mm), which gave a new impetus to the young Merlot vines and enabled véraison, or colour change, to take place unhindered.
The level of precipitation from March to June was much lower than the average of the last sixty-years. These drought conditions slowed down vegetative growth starting in July. This allowed the vine's vigour to be channelled into ripening the fruit. Another consequence of the cumulative dry, hot summer weather was very thick skins.
This led us to look after the vines with the greatest of care, giving tailor-made attention to each one. Leaf and bunch thinning were thus carried out to varying degrees and at different times. These two operations occurred early in the season and were intense for Merlot and Cabernet Franc, but took place later and were less intense for Cabernet Sauvignon and the white wine varieties. Going through the vines repeatedly to pluck leaves and thin bunches improved ventilation and enhanced ripening.
August was hot as well as rainy – which everyone in Bordeaux had been hoping for. This rain enabled the vines to maintain the necessary water reserves and to provide requisite nourishment for perfect ripeness. The harvest began in September under a clear blue sky. Thanks to this ideal weather, we were able to wait for optimum ripeness for each grape variety.
All the conditions are there to allow 2015 to join the greatest vintages of Haut-Brion and Mission Haut-Brion.
Le Clarence de Haut-Brion
The colour is very deep with attractive red highlights. The first impression on the nose is of ripe fruit. Swirling in the glass shows the bouquet's intensity and complexity. 2015 Clarence is tasty and full-bodied from the very first, going on to show refined, tight-knit tannin. The wine leaves an impression of freshness and plenty of volume, but without heaviness.
57% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon – The harvest lasted from the 8th of September to the 5th of October.
Very beautiful, deep, garnet-red colour. The nose is ripe and concentrated. After swirling in the glass, it becomes more complex with hints of very ripe – but not excessively so – red and black fruit. There are also liquorice nuances and a soupçon of clove. The wine starts out with a very soft mouth feel and immediately shows tremendous volume and depth in every respect, with flavours reminiscent of ripe fruit and cocoa beans. The long aftertaste features mocha and slightly bitter coffee nuances. Barrel ageing will undoubtedly bring out more of this wine's greatness and confirm its place among the finest vintages of Château Haut-Brion.
50% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon – The harvest lasted from the 8th of September to the 5th of October.
La Clarté de Haut-Brion
2015 La Clarté has a very attractive, expressive nose of citrus, especially grapefruit, with lemon nuances. The wine starts out very rich and attractive on the palate with medium volume, as well as plenty of depth and attractive flavours.
27% Sauvignon Blanc, 73% Sémillon – The harvest lasted from the 28th of August to the 8th of September.
White Château Haut-Brion has a complex nose revealing hints of mango, lychee, pineapple, rose petal, and pepper. The Sauvignon Blanc comes through beautifully here. The wine is full and fruity on the palate, going on to show breadth, richness, and a superb, saline mouth-watering aftertaste.
69% Sauvignon Blanc, 31% Sémillon – The harvest lasted from the 28th of August to the 7th of September.