x
  • Country ranking ?

    5 407
  • Producer ranking ?

    91
  • Decanting time

    1h
  • When to drink

    Now
  • Food Pairing

    Beef

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The Story

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.

 

 

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Wine Information


1964 A VERY GOOD YEAR
The grapes were ripe and very fragile. Haut-Brion started its harvests very quickly, and they were nearly finished before the rains. The wine is today flavorful, long, with finesse needing more time to achieve fulfillment.

Weather conditions
Sum of temperatures : 3327 °C
Rain : 339 mm
Days where temperature above 30 °C : 31
Harvest : from 28/09/1964 to 06/10/1964

Current vintage notes
An early year with much good weather. June and July were dry and hot. August had its typical storms, and September was very hot, so that the harvest had to be completed quickly. From October 5th on, rain fell constantly for 3 weeks, ruining the hopes of those who had waited too long to harvest.

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Vintage 1964

For many the 1964 vintage conjures up images of a truly unique year. It was that in Burgundy, but not Bordeaux, even though the French minister of agriculture declared it to be the vintage of the century in Bordeaux. He made his declaration before the autumn rains began to fall. The vintage was, at any rate, a very good one, quite reminiscent of the 1962, whose large crops produced excellent wines.

The mild, wet winter was followed by a warm spring. The ideal conditions enjoyed during the germination period stayed dry and hot throughout the summer. The grapes ripened beautifully all the way until 8 October, when three weeks of extremely heavy rains pushed into Bordeaux, causing the greatest damage in Médoc, primarily at Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe. Some of the region’s producers had managed to bring their entire harvests in before the rains. One of these fortunate ones was Château Latour. One of the less fortunate was Château Lynch-Bages, which finally brought its harvest in on 24 October. This vintage, however, favoured the right bank’s Merlot-driven wines, which ripened well before the rains. There are very few drinkable wines at this time. Once again, the Cheval Blanc and Pétrus rise above the other, also in price. An interesting development in 1964 was Mouiex’s acquisition of shares in Pétrus. 

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Tasting note

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Written Notes

Ruby with thin garnet rim. Cedar, cigars, blackcurrants, extremelly elegant, a bit tender and fragile, great mature Bordeaux. Some prunes and figs, leather and medicinal. Very elegant, sweet morellos and red plums, great ballance, complex, exceptional length. Not decanted. 91

  • 91p

Château Haut-Brion 1964 / Bright, clear cherry red colour with an orange hue. Appealingly open, complex and developed concentrated fragrant nose with intense red berry aromas and flowers. Dry, medium-bodied palate with crisp delicate acidity and very supportive ripe tannins. Sweet intensive fruit with roasted pine nut aromas are highlighted in the long finish. Lovely wine with balance and harmony

  • 93p
Tasted in April 2014. Elegant and mature wine, polished, fine balance and complexity. Light but with great finesse.
  • 91p
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Information

Origin

Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux

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