2004 Ch. Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

2004 Ch. Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

Product: 20041011247
2004 Ch. Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

Description

Winemaker/administrator Jean Delmas considers this to be his best wine since 2000. Only 55% of the production - a blend of 61% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Cabernet Franc - has gone into the hedonistic Grand Vin. Enticing aromas of ripe, spicy plums and raisins with nuances of tobacco, minerals and vanilla entice you to take a sip. It is completely delicious, with notes of Swiss chocolate, sweet fruit, toast and cinnamon spice and fine tannins. An exceptionally pure, round and extremely polished wine.
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About this WINE

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.

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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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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.

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Reviews

Customer reviews

The Wine Advocate93/100
Parker92/100

Critic reviews

The Wine Advocate93/100
It has been a few years since I last tasted the 2004 Haut-Brion. Now at 12 years of age, it retains its deep color. The bouquet is pleasant if not as complex as the 2004 Latour, yet it's possibly just biding its time as it gradually opens with black fruit, black olive, even a touch of mint that might dupe you into thinking Pauillac. The palate is medium-bodied and very harmonious, almost caressing thanks to the Merlot lending that velvety texture. The second half changes tack, the Cabernet nudging the Merlot off the stage and delivering a more structured, possibly foursquare finish that is linear and correct. It is an excellent wine for the vintage although it will always be overshadowed by the 2005 inter alia. Maybe more personality just needs to develop? Tasted September 2016.
Neal Martin - 01/03/2017 Read more
Parker92/100
An atypically high percentage of Merlot (61%) in addition to 19% Cabernet Franc, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon make up the 2004 Haut-Brion. Fifty-five percent of the production was utilized for the grand vin, a surprisingly forward, charming, silky effort despite the relatively high tannin. The nose is still a little mute giving a moderate intensity of youthful aromas: ripe plums, cassis, Chinese five spice, moss and a fair amount of cedar. Oak tannins seem to dominate the structure contributing to the taut astringency of the palate yet there is a good amount of ripe berry and earthy fruit plus medium acidity to balance. Long earthy finish.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown - In Asia - erobertparker.com - May 2009
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