Red, For laying down

2010 Ch. Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan

2010 Ch. Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan

Red | For laying down | Chateau Haut-Brion | Code: 7721 | 2010 | France > Bordeaux > Pessac-Leognan | Cab.Sauvignon Blend | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 13.5 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

BBR

18.5/20

TIM_ATKIN

99

DECANTER

19.5/20

JANCIS

18+/20

PARKER

100/100

WS

96-99/100

TIM_ATKIN - The driest summer at Haut-­Brion since 1949 made life difficult for the young Merlot vines, but helped the Cabernet to achieve unprecedented ripeness. According to Jean-­Philippe Delmas, the grand vin has the highest levels of tannin, alcohol and colour ever recorded. The result is brilliant: powerful, dense and voluptuous with plenty of plum, cassis and black cherry fruit to wrap around the wine’s core of tannin and acidity. A mere whisker away from perfection and a legendary Haut-­Brion in embryo.
(Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com, May 2011)

DECANTER - Chateau Haut-Brion, offers stunning aromas of beautifully concentrated red fruits, already expressive, even exuberant, a taffeta-like finesse hides great strength for the long term.
(Steven Spurrier – Decanter – Apr 2011)

JANCIS - Full, opulent nose in which the classic Haut-Brion wine aroma is well masked by lots of slightly austere fruit. Very fine tannins – very drying finish. An extremely slow burner. Much drier than La Mission, and at the moment not desperately expressive. Its lips are pursed at the moment, and so are mine tasting it. Unusual to come across such a long-term wine even here.

This may not make a massive impact en primeur because it is keeping so much in reserve. I think it will eventually make a great wine but it’s surly at the moment. 23% Merlot, 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc. 7,800 cases, not 10,000+ as in 2009. 42% grand vin (compared with 57% in 2009).
(Jancis Robinson MW- jancis robinson.com 11 Apr 2011)

PARKER - As for the 2010 Haut-Brion, it does not have the power of Latour’s 2010 or the intense lead pencil shavings and chocolaty component of Lafite-Rothschild, but it is extraordinary, perfect wine. It has a slightly lower pH than the 2009 (3.7 versus the 2009's 3.8), and even higher alcohol than the 2009 (14.6%). The wine is ethereal. From its dense purple color to its incredibly subtle but striking aromatics that build incrementally, offering up a spectacular smorgasbord of aromas ranging from charcoal and camphor to black currant and blueberry liqueur and spring flowers, this wine’s finesse, elegant yet noble power and authority come through in a compelling fashion. It is full-bodied, but that’s only apparent in the aftertaste, as the wine seems to float across the palate with remarkable sweetness, harmony, and the integration of all its component parts – alcohol, tannin, acidity, wood, etc. This prodigious Haut-Brion is hard to compare to another vintage, at least right now, but it should have 50 to 75 years of aging potential.
(100 Robert Parker- Wine Advocate- Feb 2013)

Following a harvest that finished on October 10, Haut-Brion produced a 2010 that should turn out to be one of its all-time greats ... an amazing feat given what they have accomplished over recent vintages. A blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc that came in at 14.6% alcohol, the 2010 boasts an opaque purple color as well as a gorgeous perfume of scorched earth/burning embers, blueberries, black currant liqueur and crushed rocks. Full and opulent with nobility, finesse, purity and elegance, this amazing effort possesses extraordinary levels of extract as well as formidable, but sweet, well-integrated tannins. It requires 8-10 years of cellaring and should drink well for 50+ years.
(98-100 Robert Parker- Wine Advocate- May 2011)

WS - The Château Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan 2010 is made from a blend of 57 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 23 percent Merlot and 20 percent Cabernet Franc—one of the lowest levels of Merlot and one of the highest percentages of Cabernet Franc for the grand vin. It’s sappy, dense and packed, with layers of kirsch, melted licorice snap, anise and black tea. And it’s just as dense, if not more so, on the finish, with extra tar, violet and blackberry confiture. There’s really massive grip on the back end, but it’s velvety and caressing.
(James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator - Tasting at Haut Brion - 29 Mar 2011)

The Producer

Chateau Haut-Brion

Chateau Haut-Brion

The only property from outside the Médoc to be included in the 1855 Classification, Haut-Brion’s viticultural history can be traced back further than its Médoc First Growth counterparts.  Samuel Pepys even mentions it in his diaries.  Situated in what is now Pessac-Léognan, the property finds itself now in the suburbs of the ever-encroaching city of Bordeaux

After falling into a state of disrepair the estate was purchased in 1935 by Clarence Dillon, an American financier, since when it has enjoyed a steady and continual resurgence to a position of pre-eminence.  Dillon’s great-grandson, Prince Robert of Luxembourg, now runs the estate, but a key influence in the reputation which Haut-Brion enjoys today is the Delmas family.  George Delmas was manager and wine-maker until 1960, when his son Jean-Bernard took over. Jean- Bernard was a visionary figure, responsible for a number of important innovations, and on his retirement in 2003 his son Jean-Philippe took over as Directeur Générale.

The vineyard is planted to 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Franc. A stunning white wine is also made, from a part of the vineyard which is 63% Semillon and 37% Sauvignon Blanc. Production is smaller than at the other First Growth Wines, totalling about 20,000 cases, shared between the Grand Vin and a second wine, formerly called Bahans-Haut-Brion but changed in 2007 to Clarence de Haut-Brion in recognition of Clarence Dillon. Production of Haut Brion Blanc is minute, less than 800 cases in most years. 

Beginning with the 2009 vintage a new white wine was introduced in the place of Clarence: La Clarté de Haut-Brion, the offspring of Domaine Clarence Dillon's two prestigious white wines: Château Haut-Brion Blanc and Château La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc.

Fermentation of the red wines takes place in stainless steel vats, after which the wine will spend 22 months, sometimes more, in new oak barrels before being bottled unfiltered.  For the white wine fermentation takes place in new oak barrels, after which the wine spends a further year to 15 months on its lees in barrel before bottling.  The white wine is truly sensational, equivalent in class to a top-flight White Burgundy Grand Cru, but its scarcity means that it is rarely seen.

The red wine is no less extraordinary; at its best it displays text-book Graves characteristics of cigar-box, curranty fruit, earth, smoky spice and cassis. The high Merlot content, compared to the Médoc First Growths, gives it a voluptuous edge, but does not in any way detract from its ability to age.

The Grape

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

The Region

Pessac-Leognan

Pessac-Leognan

In 1986 a new communal district was created within Graves, in Bordeaux,  based on the districts of Pessac and Léognan, the first of which lies within the suburbs of the city. Essentially this came about through pressure from Pessac-Léognan vignerons, who wished to disassociate themselves from growers with predominately sandy soils further south in Graves.

Pessac-Léognan has the best soils of the region, very similar to those of the Médoc, although the depth of gravel is more variable, and contains all the classed growths of the region. Some of its great names, including Ch. Haut-Brion, even sit serenely and resolutely in Bordeaux's southern urban sprawl.

The climate is milder than to the north of the city and the harvest can occur up to two weeks earlier. This gives the best wines a heady, rich and almost savoury character, laced with notes of tobacco, spice and leather. Further south, the soil is sandier with more clay, and the wines are lighter, fruity and suitable for earlier drinking.

Recommended Châteaux: Ch. Haut-Brion, Ch. la Mission Haut-Brion, Ch. Pape Clément, Ch Haut-Bailly, Domaine de Chevalier, Ch. Larrivet-Haut-Brion, Ch. Carmes Haut-Brion, Ch. La Garde, Villa Bel-Air.

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