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Four and a half glasses
External Reviews for Château Haut-Brion Red Bordeaux Blend Pessac-Léognan
An Haut-Brion with lots of finesse. Beautiful tobacco, berry, cedar and plum aromas in this one. Full-bodied, yet very fine and reserved, with silky tannins and a medium finish. I still prefer the 1998 HB, but this is very, very fine indeed. Best after 2010.
This wine has been brilliant on every occasion I have tasted it. More accessible and forward than the 1996, it possesses a saturated ruby/purple color, as well as a beautiful, knock-out set of aromatics, consisting of black fruits, vanillin, spice, and wood-fire smoke. Multidimensional and rich, with layers of ripe fruit, and beautifully integrated tannin and acidity, this medium to full-bodied wine is a graceful, seamless, exceptional Haut-Brion that should drink surprisingly well young. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2030.
Deep plum, currant, and mineral notes emerge from the concentrated, beautifully balanced, pure 1999 Haut Brion. It seems to be cut from the same mold as years such as 1979 and 1985. There is a hint of graphite in the abundant fruit. The wine is medium to full-bodied, nuanced, subtle, deep, and provocatively elegant. It is made in a style that only Haut Brion appears capable of achieving. The finish is extremely long, the tannins sweet, and the overall impression one of delicacy interwoven with power and ripeness. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2025.
95-96 points - Wine AdvocateAs I indicated last year, Haut-Brion utilized only 60% of its production in the 1996 final blend (50% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc). While it is undoubtedly true that the appellations of Pessac-Leognan and Graves were less successful in 1996 than the Medoc, the wines produced under the administration of Jean Delmas (i.e., Haut-Brion, La Mission-Haut-Brion, and La Tour-Haut-Brion) are brilliant in the 1996 vintage, continuing a trend that has made Haut-Brion one of the most consistent first-growths in Bordeaux (consider the superlative performances in such difficult vintages as 1993, 1992, and 1987). The 1996 Haut-Brion has put on weight, and was even sweeter and more fragrant in November than it was earlier in the year. The wine exhibits a dark ruby color with purple nuances. Haut-Brion's signature is most frequently its glorious perfume of tobacco, black fruits, smoke, and dried herbs, combined with sweet, supple fruit, all crammed into a concentrated wine that never has the weight or tannic power of a Medoc, or the thick unctuosity of a top right bank wine. As I have frequently written, the one significant change to my palate over the last twenty years has been the fact that while I have always admired Haut-Brion, now I am addicted to its perfume and complexity. It is never the biggest of the first-growths, but it is usually among the most compelling wines of this elite group, with the most profound set of aromatics of any of its peers. That being said, the 1996 should turn out to be an exquisite wine, perhaps slightly more structured and backward than the superb 1995, but very rich, with gobs of smoky, cherry, tobacco-tinged fruit, medium body, exceptional purity and equilibrium, and a long, moderately tannic finish. The tannins taste extremely sweet. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2030. - February 1998, Robert Parker
For an Haut-Brion, this is huge. Every characteristic suggests power, from the dark color, through the knock-out perfumes, full of dark, brooding fruits. the flavors are black, intense and ripe. It is a delicious wine, surprisingly ready to drink. And yes, just at the end, there is a small hint of the delicacy and elegance that is true Haut-Brion.
A pure evocation of Graves, Haut-Brion's '98 is all potential energy, a powerful layering of minerals, gravel, plum skin, grape skin, red fruit and game, all compressed within unrelenting tannins. You can see the intensity in the dense black-purple color, and you can taste it in the tremendous red fruit length. for all its power, it remains one of the most elegant wines of Bordeaux. There's no bow to fashion, to international style. Jean-Bernard Delmas looks deep into the vineyard to create this wine and fashions it to develop for 20 years or more.
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 3-4 years of cellaring, and keep for 25-30.
Food Pairings for Château Haut-Brion Red Bordeaux Blend Pessac-Léognan
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