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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 / The 1977 vintage ended up being one of the poorest of the 1970s. Early budburst faced a damaging spring frost, reducing crop size from small to minimal. The forming crop was poorly treated by the cool and constantly wet summer. Then came the driest September in 125 years, followed by a dry October saving the vintage from total disaster. The epitome of the vintage was the poorest Mouton-Rothschild ever made. The only pleasure it can give is the beautiful label. On the other hand, there are surprises. Lafite with a ridiculous price of 150 euros per bottle turned out to be very pleasant. The best experience this year is still the Yquem produced in very small quantities. Overall, all dry wines were ready to drink upon release and are not
Main characteristics of the vintage
From the beginning of March, the weather was good with temperatures quite high above the seasonal average causing the vines to grow around March 10, which was really very early. At the end of the month, despite the sunny weather, it was rather cold (on March 31, the temperature dropped below 2°C). Merlots and Cabernet Francs were first affected by the frost, because their growth predated that of Cabernet Sauvignons. The Montrose vineyard, well ventilated by its proximity to the Gironde estuary, was never subject to spring frosts before 1977. Then, May and June were too mild for the season with precipitation. Early vegetation was delayed and flowering was late (mid-flowering on June 21). If July temperatures were normal, August and September lacked sun and heat, leading to insufficient maturity of the grapes. The first days of harvest were characterized by alternating rain and sun, followed by nice cool weather. During this period, the temperature did not exceed 20°C;