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External Reviews for Chateau Haut Brion Blanc Premier Cru Classe Weingut Emmerich Knoll
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+
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.
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.
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+.
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.
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 1986 Haut-Brion, which I thought should be fully mature by now, remains a backward, highly concentrated, powerful wine with more noticeable tannin than most top vintages. The wine does possesses a tell-tale smoky tobacco and sweet black currant-scented nose, in addition to subtle new oak and minerals scents. This medium to full-bodied, rich, intensely smoky wine has still not reached its plateau of maturity. It is unquestionably the wine of the vintage for Graves, and not far off the pace of the great 1986 first-growth Medocs. Anticipated maturity: 2000ndash;2015. Last tasted 7/97.
Food Pairings for Chateau Haut Brion Blanc Premier Cru Classe Weingut Emmerich Knoll
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