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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.
2008/ A VERY GOOD YEAR
Beautiful dense red color. The nose is very mature and presents notes of red fruits dominated by blackberries and blackcurrants. In the mouth, the approach is dense and tight. The evolution is very impressive due to sheer volume and impressive soft tannins. The fruit presence is very persistent with an ending that is long and aromatic. This wine has a lot of flavor and taste. It promises to have a very long and beautiful future.
Merlot Noir 41%
Cabernet Sauvignon 50 %
Cabernet Franc 9 %
Temperature sum : 3 254°C.
Rainfall : 476 mm
Number of days over 30°C : 10
Harvesting began : September 8th – October 17th.
Current vintage notes
In years when Bordeaux winegrowers face adverse weather conditions, they usually speak of a millésime de vigneron, meaning that only the most perspicacious, courageous and committed professionals will be able to produce quality wine. This was the case in 2008, where a rainy and cool spring impeded vine growth and meant a late start for blossoms. In addition, a relatively cold and slightly moist August slowed the ripening of grapes. With the harvest period beginning about ten days after the date selected the previous year, 2008 was therefore a rather late vintage.
In such a case, the behavior of the vine depends on the quality of the soil in which it is planted, but also to a great extent on the
winegrower’s expertise and the hours of labor expended by personnel in the vineyard, before the harvest.
As these two conditions for success were present at both of Domaine Clarence Dillon’s properties, 2008 proved an exceptional year for the quality of our white wines and a very good year for our red wines, similar to the 1988 vintage in style and to the 2004 in structure.