x
  • Country ranking ?

    862
  • Producer ranking ?

    56
  • Decanting time

    -
  • When to drink

    2020-2035
  • Food Pairing

    Salads

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The Story

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.

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Vintage 2020

In Bordeaux, the heat resulted in early flowering. Also, this led to an early harvest after a very hot summer. As a starting point, there is great maturity in the grapes, and one can expect a more opulent vintage than in the last few years.

The summer this year has been the warmest since 1959, yet the rain has fallen at the right times during the growing season. The harvest took place two weeks before the norm and will yield grapes with high potential alcohol and the lowest acidity since the 2003 vintage. As they say in Bordeaux: "It has been a good and extreme growing season which hopefully also produces great wines".

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

A blend of 71.4% Sauvignon Blanc and 28.6% Semillon, harvested 20th to 27th August and with an alcohol of 13.9%, the 2020 Haut-Brion Blanc slowly unfurls to reveal notes of fresh pears, spiced apple slices, orange zest and lemongrass, plus touches of wet pebbles, dillseed and baking bread. The medium-bodied palate wears its lightly spicy apple and pear layers with grace and sophistication, supported by a racy backbone and subtly creamy texture, finishing long and mineral laced. It will need time, but there's no doubting it's a knock-out.

“First, we had to manage with the very humid spring—we had to fight against mildew,” Deputy Managing Director Jean-Philippe Delmas of Domaine Clarence Dillon informed me. “It was challenging. Regardless for whether you were using natural products or not. So, yields were already lower than in 2019. Then we had almost two months without a drop of water—mid-June to mid-August. We decided for the first time not to do the leaf thinning. It was not so much because of the heat, but it was SO dry. Not so many bunches were dropped in July. This year there was less intervention in the vineyards. When you intervene, you modify the profile of the wines. We started to harvest the whites very early. What is rare this year is that we finished the whites in August. It was a very early year for the whites. For the reds, the maceration was a bit shorter. We used more Cabernet Franc for all the grand vins. This was definitely a Cabernet Franc year! For La Mission Haut-Brion and Haut-Brion, the proportion reflects exactly the proportion we have in the fields.”95-97+p

  • 97p

That distinctive, embossed bottle full is 1,300 g. 71.4% Sauvignon Blanc, 28.6% Sémillon. Cask sample taken 12 April. Picked from 20 to 27 August. Estimated alcohol 13.9%.
Very pale greenish straw. Far from the most opulent Haut-Brion Blanc, this is playing the fresh and subtle card, with just a hint of sweet smokiness, Perhaps the team was keen to hang on to such acidity as was available after the hot, dry summer since it seems pretty soft? Decidedly reticent at the moment. It's always so difficult to give a drinking date for Haut-Brion Blanc since it seems to go into a funk at about four years. But it has so many waxy layers even at this early stage … it may well blossom into something truly remarkable but for the moment its stablemate La Mission Blanc seems to have much more vitality.

  • 88p

Bright yellow colour with green hue. Densely woven, expressive and complex nose with fragrant fruit, ripe peaches, grapefruit zest, physalis, white lilies, hints of vanilla and mild spices, subtle oak with discreet toasting aroma. On the palate opulent texture, savoury character, multi-layered fruit with citrus fruit and hints of tropical fruit, aromatic herbs, rich with excellent length and depth, a textbook Haut-Brion Blanc. 

  • 99p
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Information

Origin

Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux

Other wines from this producer

Château Haut-Brion

La Clarté de Haut-Brion

Le Clarence de Haut-Brion

Plantiers de Haut-Brion

Highlights

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