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External Reviews for Chateau Haut Brion Blanc Premier Cru Classe Weingut Emmerich Knoll
In contrast to the 1993andrsquo;s penetrating, upfront aromas, the 1994 is closed aromatically. With coaxing, some truffle-like, sweet, black friut aromas, as well as those of mineral/stones come forward. This spicy, full-bodied, powerful wine is a more masculine, structured effort than the 1993, with a potentially more complex, richer character. It is superbly crafted, beautifully balanced, and as pure as a wine can be. The integration of new oak, acidity, and tannin is commendable. Anticipated maturity: 2002andndash;2025.
No first-growth administrator has been on a hotter streak in terms of consistency and quality than Haut-Brionandrsquo;s Jean Delmas, where nearly everything since the late seventies has been meritorious. Haut-Brionandrsquo;s terrific 1994 does not possess either the thick, unctuous texture or the weight of La Mission. Like La Mission, it contains more Merlot than normal, but the result is an elegant wine with medium to full body, exceptional concentration and purity, great balance and harmony, a dazzling aromatic profile consisting of sweet, mineral, cassis, and white chocolate scents, similar flavors, an enthralling texture, and a long, highly-concentrated finish. This is a gorgeously supple and precocious Haut-Brion that avoids tasting heavy or out of balance, rather amazing for such a young wine. The 1994 reminds me of the 1985, but with more plumpness and fat. Only 66% of Haut-Brionandrsquo;s harvest (which ended on 9/24) made it into the grand vin.
This is incredible on the nose, showing coffee cake, blackberry, floral, coffee bean and vanilla bean, with Chinese spices. A very complex, full-bodied red, with seamless, hyperpolished tannins that caress every millimeter of the palate. Lasts for minutes. So beautifully balanced, Irsquo;m left speechless. Is it even better than the 1989? Best after 2017.
Another profound effort from Haut-Brion, the 2005 (a 9,000-case blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc) has bulked up to the point that it is fair to compare it to the great successes of 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, and 2000. A dark ruby/purple color is followed by a nuanced, noble bouquet of blue and red fruits interwoven with wet stones, unsmoked cigar tobacco, scorched earth, and spring flowers. The wine is full-bodied, pure, and complex as well as exceptionally elegant with laser-like precision. The tannins are still serious and substantial, and in that sense, this is a completely different style of Haut-Brion than the opulent, silky-textured 1989 and 1990. As I have written before, it comes across as an improved, more concentrated and structured version of the 1995 or 1998. Patience will be required for this stunner. Anticipated maturity: 2017ndash;2040+
Whether itrsquo;s a coincidence, or because in relatively cool years the first-growth terroirs are brilliant, Haut-Brion has turned out a beautifully classic, medium-bodied, precise and focused 2002 boasting a deep ruby/purple color as well as strikingly elegant aromatics (crushed stones, plums, black cherries, currants, figs, and earth). The wine possesses impressively measured power and elegance offered in a medium-bodied, nicely-structured, exceptionally pure format. It is unusual for Haut-Brion to dominate La Mission Haut-Brion at such a young age, but it certainly does in the 2002 vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2010ndash;2024.
Haut-Brion has been the most consistent first-growth over the last decade, producing top-notch wines, even in such tough years as 1987, 1993, and 1994. I have had a tendency to forget just how exceptional the 1990 Haut-Brion is because of the huge shadow cast by the 1989. However, in this blind tasting, the 1990 proved itself to be a great wine. Its price has not risen nearly as much as one might expect given its quality. The 1990 is a decadently ripe wine with much more evolution to its fragrant cassis, mineral, smoked-herb, hot rocks, tobacco, sweet, toasty nose. Fat, rich, and medium to full-bodied, this superbly-concentrated, forward, awesomely-endowed wine requires 4ndash;6 years of cellaring; it is capable of lasting for 20ndash;25+ years. It is an unheralded, underrated 1990 that deserves more attention.
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