x
  • Country ranking ?

    1 617
  • Producer ranking ?

    40
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2050
  • Food Pairing

    Lamb with aubergines

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

Read more
Close

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.

 

 

Read more
Close

Wine Information

Château Haut-Brion’s tasting notes :

A GOOD YEAR
This vintage is a wine full of contradictions and difficult to make out. The grapes were acid, but produced a subtle wine. The sugar level was unusually high but the phenolic ripeness altered depending on the different varieties.
The Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon seemed riper than the Merlots. The quality was very close to the last year's crop, but the structure of the wine was different.
Missing the tannins of the '95, now the '96 tannins finished with a light bitter taste in the mouth. The wine was ample with a good structure and a pleasant harmony. It is a
very good wine and will make an excellent Haut-Brion.

Weather conditions
Sum of temperatures : 3254 °C
Rain : 516 mm
Days where temperature above 30 °C : 24
Harvest : from 16/09/1996 to 04/10/1996

Current vintage notes
The climate of 1996 was mostly characterized by its great irregularity. Except for
a few days in July, there were no long hot periods. It began to rain rather late in
August. The first half of September was temperate but it rained all the time during
the second half. Altogether the summer was average with a few nice intervals.


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.
The vineyards are on a small rise about 27 metres above sea level. It contains a very deep layer of gravel – perfect for growing wine. Just over 48 hectares are planted with 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Franc.
Haut Brion is together with Latour the Premier Cru that has been most consistent for the last 100 years, never going through a phase where their wines were not worthy of their Premier Cru status. This is not taken for granted by the present management and they are making great efforts to not only keep the quality of their wine but also always trying to improve small details. Fortunately, they are not using extraction machines or other voodoo methods of concentration, but rather seeking concentration by lowering the yield per vine. This has subtly changed the style of the wine to make it more approachable earlier but without losing the true character of Haut Brion - the connaisseurs Premier Cru.
Soil: gravel soil with a subsoil of clay and sand
Production area: 48 ha
Grape varieties: 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 42% Merlot
Average age of vines: 37 years
Harvest method: by hand with the sorting out on trailers
Winemaking: computer controlled pumping-overs and thermoregulation according to the temperatures of the must and the marc
Ageing: 18-22 months in 80% new barrels


Château Haut-Brion
Pessac, France
Tel. +33 5 56 00 29 30
Fax. +33 5 56 98 75 14
www.haut-brion.com/home/en/
info@haut-brion.com

Read more
Close

Vintage 1996

The 1996s stand as a “classic” Bordeaux year, although – as Jancis Robinson MW has written – not in the “skinny” sense; although Farr Vintners’ director, Tom Hudson, told the drinks business that it was perhaps a “very good” rather than a “truly great” year as it wasn’t uniformly excellent across the region.

By way of a recap, 1996 was a particularly sterling vintage for Médoc wines. The Berry Bros & Rudd website extolls: “This is one of the great post-war vintages for Médoc Cabernet-based wines. They are rich, complex and beautifully balanced wines, packed with ripe, pure fruit and have the structure that will allow the top wines to age well into the next decade and beyond.”

The Right Bank by contrast are described as “distinguished” but “overshadowed” by the ‘95s – which was an especially good vintage for Saint Emilion and Pomerol.

It was also an excellent vintage for white Bordeaux.

Robert Parker’s scores tend to favour the Left Bank, though a few of the very best wines of the Right Bank received very respectable reviews as well.

Only two wines received 100-points: Lafite and Latour, Margaux was rated 99, Léoville Las Cases 98, Ducru Beaucaillou 96 and Pichon-Comtesse 96.

La Mondotte was the highest rated Right Bank wine on 97-points, Ausone was the next best rated on 93 as was L’Eglise Clinet, while Gomerie, Petrus and Le Pin settled for 92 and Cheval Blanc for 90.

With the passage of nearly 20 years, the wines have naturally appreciated and now that they are well into their drinking window demand will almost certainly begin to push prices up even further for the most in-demand among them.

The figures are often impressive, to date Lafite has seen a rise of 657.9% since its release, its second wine Carruades is up 592%, Latour has risen 437%, Petrus 400% and Pichon Baron 240%.

Read more
Close

Latest Pro-tasting notes

<10 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Full

ending

Medium

nose

Intense

recommend

Yes

Written Notes

While in some vintages La Mission Haut-Brion and Haut-Brion can be close in quality, that is not the case in this vintage. The 1996 Haut-Brion, a blend of 50% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Cabernet Franc is clearly on a higher plane than the La Mission. There is something much more expansive and complete on the nose: greater depth of fruit, more harmonious with scents of underbrush, tar, black olive and this bottle perhaps less "feral" than I have noticed on previous examples. The palate is very well balanced with dark cherries, sous-bois and cedar. This is one vintage where I think the Cabernet Franc plays an important role and lends more complexity. This is a 1996 that has retained and built upon beguiling fleshiness and it will continue to evolve with style and panache. Tasted July 2016.

  • 95p
Load more notes

Information

Origin

Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Value For Money

Good

Investment potential

Average

Fake factory

None

Highlights

Latest news

TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS 100 Best Champagnes for 2020  / Dom Pérignon is a winner again!
WINERY NEWS Warre's / The New Normal 2019 Douro Harvest Report It is easy for visitors to the Douro to assume that  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS MOST FAKED WINE / TOP 30 LIST
WINERY NEWS Diamond Creek Vineyards / Louis Roederer Champagne to buy Diamond Creek Vineyards Roederer is about to add another gem, Dia  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS One of the most famous names in the global wine trade, Michael Broadbent MW, has died aged 92. / Robert Joseph remembers Michael Broadbent MW, who led an extraordinary life in wine.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW 2020 - Best Wine Shop of the World have been selected  / Millésima from France is the Winner.
WINE NEWS: Sassicaia 2017 / Sassicaia 2017 released – “a wild, exotic beauty” By Liv-ex Sassicaia 2  more ...
WINE NEWS: Sir Winston Churchill 2009 / Pol Roger, Sir Winston Churchill 2009 released By Liv-ex This morning, Pol Roger Sir Wins  more ...
WINE NEWS: Hermitage La Chapelle 2016 / Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage Chapelle 2017 released – “a magical wine in the making&rdqu  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS Champagne Henriot announces the appointment of its new Wine Maker, Alice Tétienne / Champagne Henriot is very pleased to welcome Alice Tétienne as its new Wine Maker, starting from April 1st, 2020.
WINERY NEWS Château Cantenac-Brown / Margaux third growth Château Cantenac Brown has been sold to Frenchman Tristan Le Lous for an   more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS PENFOLDS GRANGE VERTICAL BREAKS AUCTION RECORD / A set of Penfolds Grange, dating from 1951 to 2015, has been sold for a record AU$372,800, comfortably beating the previous auction price for a similar vertical of $349,500.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW 2020 - Best Wine Critics of the World have been selected! / The Best Wine Critic of the World -title was awarded to Neal Martin.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW 2020 - Voting for the Best Wine Critic of the World is over. / Wine Critics received 218,966 votes from 56 countries.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS DRAKE LAUNCHES 2008 VINTAGE CHAMPAGNE PRICED AT $550 A BOTTLE / Having unveiled his first Mod Sélection Champagnes at the start of the year, Canadian rapper Drake is ending the year by launching two 2008 vintage expressions priced at US$480 and $550 a bottle.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS LOUIS ROEDERER LAUNCHES FIRST ‘BIODYNAMIC’ CRISTAL / Louis Roederer has announced the release of the 2012 vintage of Cristal, the first to be made from 100% biodynamically farmed grapes.
WINERY NEWS Henri Boillot / VINTAGE 2017 /  I love this vintage! Winter is once again not dry and cold enough and this i  more ...
VINTAGE NEWS: 1959 / 1959 the unemployment problems eased to 5.5%. Television programmes included "Rawhide"  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS AUSTRIAN VINTAGE 2019 / FRUIT-FORWARD & FANTASTIC!

Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.
Incorrect Information
If you found some information that is wrong, let us know
Are you sure you want do delete this wine? All information will be lost.
Are you sure you want to recommend this wine?
Are you sure you want hide this written note ?
Are you sure you want show this written note ?

HOW TO USE TASTINGBOOK?

We recommend you to share few minutes for watching the following video instructions of how to use the Tastingbook. This can provide you a comprehensive understanding of all the features you can find from this unique service platform.

This video will help you get started



Taste wines with the Tastingbook


Create Your wine cellar on 'My Wines'



Explore Your tasted wines library



Administrate Your wine world in Your Profile



Type a message ...
Register to Tastingbook
Register now, it's fast, easy and totally free. No commitments, only enjoyments.
  Register