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Château Haut-Brion is the oldest and by far the smallest of the "Premiers Grands Crus" vineyards of the Gironde 1855 classification. Château Haut-Brion is one of the few remaining family-owned domains of the Bordeaux region with a history going back to the 16th century. It has been owned by the American Dillon family since 1935.
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.
Bordeaux Vintage Report by Tb / If 1962 was also a fabulous year, it fell irrevocably in the shadow of 1961. The cold winter, with its biting frosts, allowed the vines to get a well-deserved rest after their hard work in 1961. The growing season started three weeks late. When the vines finally sprouted in mid-June, the weather improved. Toward fall, the weather warmed measurably, with the resulting drought ultimately having a negative impact on the vines. The few bountiful September harvests arrived just in time to save the grapes from vine wilting. The harvest, which resulted in the largest harvest of the 1950s and 1960s, did not begin until October 1. Few people believed that the vintage would be as good as it became. An excellent vintage for dry whites, reds and Sauternes. As for Sauternes, the year 1962 is clearly better than that of 1961. The best reds were Cheval Blanc, Pétrus and Mouton-Rothschild. A common characteristic of the best wines from 1962 today is their serene and balanced appearance. Only a few show real body and complexity, but they work well especially as dinner wines, also because of their excellent availability and affordability. Even the best wines should not be decanted for more than an hour.
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