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External Reviews for Chateau Haut Brion Blanc Premier Cru Classe Weingut Emmerich Knoll
The 1998 continues to emulate the style of recent prodigious Haut-Brions. With all due respect to the glorious 1995, the 1998 appears to be the finest wine produced since Haut-Brionrsquo;s prodigious 1989 and 1990. It reveals more aromatic and flavor dimensions than it did last year. The dense ruby/purple color is followed by classic, developing aromas of minerals, lead pencil, earth, and black cherries/currants. On the palate, additional dimensions and nuances unfold. Tannic and powerful, but with sweet fruit, ripe tannin, and great length and richness, this profound, firmly-structured Haut-Brion will require 4ndash;6 years of bottle age; it should drink well for three decades.
The blockbuster 2003 Haut-Brion (13% alcohol) possesses extremely high tannin, but that component is well-concealed by a cascade of mulberry, blackberry, cherry, and plum-like fruit. There is even a hint of figs under the blue and red fruit spectrum. While broad and ripe with a sweet, glyceral mouthfeel as well as a long, powerful, persistent finish, it retains its elegance and nobility. A wine of both power and finesse, it will benefit from 3ndash;4 years of cellaring, and keep for 25ndash;30.
There are only 10,000 cases of this 2003 (12.85% alcohol, high for this estate). A blend of 58% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 11% Cabernet Franc, it reveals, more tannin and a tougher texture than it did last year. Deep ruby/purple to the rim, with a fragrant bouquet of plums, figs, hot rocks, and tobacco smoke, this medium-bodied claret possesses outstanding concentration and purity, but some toughness to the tannin needs to be resolved. It had just been fined, so perhaps it had not yet fully recovered. It is certainly an outstanding Haut-Brion, but at this stage, I would rank it behind such prodigious classics as the 2000, 1998, 1995, 1990, and 1989. It will be slow to evolve. Anticipated maturity: 2010ndash;2025+.
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+
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.
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.
Food Pairings for Chateau Haut Brion Blanc Premier Cru Classe Weingut Emmerich Knoll
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