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Haut-Brion Blanc is as renowned as it is scarce, with only about 8,000 bottles available per vintage for a very demanding market. It is often regarded as the greatest white of Bordeaux, although Haut-Brion Blanc’s sibling, Laville Haut-Brion, sometimes equals and occasionally surpasses it. The white vineyards at Haut-Brion are planted to 63 percent Sémillon and 37 percent Sauvignon Blanc, a weighting that gives this wine its particularly plush combination of Sémillon-driven body and Sauvignon-influenced scent of musk. Haut-Brion Blanc ages beautifully.
White Bordeaux does not come much more layered and powerful than this. Strong oak roasted nut notes are evident on the nose but dissipate quickly on the palate. Taut yet shapely refreshing but rich. A large framed wine that manages to find harmony. Alongside exotic touches of stone fruit there are some wonderfully energising fruit characteristics of crystallised lemon rind, grapefruit and lime. Long, complex and very intense without being too weighty.
In Bordeaux, the decade culminated in the hot year of 1949, when Bordeaux was hit by an unprecedented period of drought. Cold, rainy weather had hampered germination, resulting in an exceptionally uneven distribution of pollen. This, in turn, led to a record harvest. With the arrival of summer, Bordeaux was subjected to a heatwave like it had never seen before. Temperatures of up to 43°C have been recorded in Médoc. Early September brought massive thunderstorms followed by a period of ideal weather, which lasted until harvest at the end of the month. The already small harvest was made even smaller, but it produced an incredibly juicy wine that was extremely delicious even at a young age. The wines themselves have more backbone and are more elegant than the 1947 vintage. Indeed, these lack the concentration found in the 1945. Mouton-Rothschild, however, is a capable challenger even of the best 1945 and 1947, with its ample body and balance. The dry white wines produced were also exceptional, although no longer very drinkable. Conversely, the Sauternes grapes picked at the end of a record dry October produced unique and noble wines.