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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.
1966 was an exceptional year in Bordeaux for very classic and delicate wines. However, the year started off as anything but promising. The main rainfall that began in late June continued into July, but the hot start to August dried out the soil and the weather gradually improved towards autumn, until it is almost perfect for harvest.
These wines share a truly classic, graceful and high quality character so typical of Bordeaux wines, making them elegant and balanced. Today, many of them are still good. If carefully stored, many of the best wines can still mature, but the following rule of thumb should be observed: drink them or sell them immediately. In our opinion, this is one of the finest vintages you can buy today. Almost all AOC wines are still in excellent condition, and the best examples, such as Palmer, Latour, Haut-Brion, Lafleur and Pétrus, are excellent. There is a wide selection of well-priced first, second and third growth wines on the market. For example, Cos d’Estournel, Calon-Ségur and Lynch-Bages offer exceptional value for money. As a general rule, decanting for one hour is sufficient.
The price development of this vintage no longer shows any significant upward movement – the price increase over the last ten years has been around 55%. Rising prices will continue as the best wines mature, perhaps until 2020, when any surviving wines should be removed from the cellar and sold or drunk immediately.