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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.
Château Haut-Brion 1975
A VERY GOOD YEAR
Truly great wine-everything in aroma, fruit and power. Very much marked by nobility. A structure which is at once tannic and smooth. Much complexity of taste.
An exceptional wine.
Sum of temperatures : 3250 °C
Rain : 362 mm
Days where temperature above 30 °C : 16
Harvest : from 25/09/1975 to 08/10/1975
Current vintage notes
June, as well as July, were very hot. September, on the other hand, was variable. Fair weather for the harvest. Everywhere, rich and powerful wines which will require a long time in the bottle to develop fully.
Bordeaux: After four miserable vintages came the hot vintage of 1975 which briefly put Bordeaux wines in the spotlight once again. The unstable temperature of September turned into good weather for the harvest. The grapes were high in sugar, but many reds, especially those made from Cabernet Sauvignon, lacked phenolic ripeness. This resulted in masculine and even aggressive reds with austere and even harsh tannins.
Wines from Graves and Pomerol turned out to be the most delicious this year. La Mission Haut-Brion and Lafleur-Pétrus stand out as the best, with Trotanoy right after them. Pétrus turned out to be very exceptional with a more aggressive and full-bodied style than usual. The Lafite-Rothschild at the reasonable price of 300 euros is the first Lafite seventies which gives a promise of improvement. On the other hand, Haut-Brion, considered very good, turned out to be a slight disappointment.
For dry whites, it was exceptional and Sauternes was an excellent vintage. The best Sauternes experiences were Yquem, Coutet, Gilette and Suduiraut.