2018 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

2018 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

Product: 20188014317
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2018 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

Description

The Clarence sets the tone for the Grand Vin beautifully. There is a generous and floral approach before the lovely fluid interplay between tannin and fruit on the palate. The wine then settles and confidently delivers its Haut-Brion calling card of sweet, open-textured savoury fruit. Drink 2023-2032.

Blend: 58% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot

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Available by the case In Bond. Pricing excludes duty and VAT, which must be paid separately before delivery. Find out more.
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Price per case
6 x 75cl bottle
Berry Bros. & Rudd BB&R 20 cases £612.00
En Primeur Limited availability
En Primeur Limited availability

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

Antonio Galloni 89-91
Wine Advocate92-94/100
James Suckling94-95/100
Other93-95

Critic reviews

Antonio Galloni 89-91
The 2018 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion is soft and understated. Bright floral notes, sweet red berry fruit and soft, silky tannins give the wine its gracious, classy personality. The 2018 offers lovely freshness in a soft, fruity style that holds quite a bit of near-term appeal. The blend is 58.2% Merlot, 28.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 3.6% Petit Verdot.
Antonio Galloni
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Wine Advocate92-94/100
The 2018 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion is a blend of 58.2% Merlot, 28.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 3.6% Petit-Verdot, harvested September 6 to October 2. Deep garnet-purple colored, it opens with a very serious nose of earthy layerstilled soil, truffles, underbrush and crushed rocksgiving way to notions of Black Forest cake, kirsch and redcurrant jelly with wafts of cassis and pencil shavings. Full-bodied, the palate is sparked with fantastic energy, featuring layers of red and black fruits with a smooth, rounded texture and lively minty kick to the finish.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown - 23/04/2019 Read more
James Suckling94-95/100
This is an excellent second wine from Haut-Brion with fantastic depth of fruit and structure. Full yet very energetic and a long, linear finish. Shows great length. 
James Suckling Read more
Other93-95
The second wine of Haut-Brion, made from 58.2% Merlot, 28.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, the 2018 Le Clarence De Haut-Brion sports a deeper purple color as well as rocking notes of blackcurrants, smoked tobacco, and earth. It's rich, medium to full-bodied, has beautiful tannins, and a great finish. It's already approachable but will keep for two decades.
Jeb Dunnock  Read more