Haut Brion 2003

RegionBordeaux
SubregionGraves
ColourRed
TypeStill

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Tasting Notes

58% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc. Less than 10,000 cases this year (the smallest vintage in years apart from 1991) with yields of 36 hl/ha. Inky opaque colour, open, exotic ripe blackcurrant on the nose with a sheen of classy new wood. Classic Graves allspice character. Sweeter and less evidently tannic than La Mission. Very elegant and refined. Great class.

Score: 18.5Farr Vintners, April 2004

2003 Haut Brion placed twelfth overall, out of 100 wines tasted blind, at the 2003 Farr Vintners Blind Tasting held in October 2010. For more information, please visit www.farrvintners.com/blog.php

Score: 16.7Farr Vintners, Farr Vintners 2003 Blind Tasting, October 2010

Score: 17.5+Farr Vintners, Southwold Bordeaux Tasting, January 2007

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.

Score: 95Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (164), April 2006

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: 2010-2025+.

Score: 93/95Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (158), April 2005

The 2003 Haut-Brion reveals the vintage’s opulence and low acidity, but it possesses an even higher tannin level than the 2000. A deep ruby/purple color accompanies classic aromas of cranberries, scorched earth, minerals, and blue as well as black fruit notes. It hits the palate with considerable richness and intensity, but is neither overripe nor heavy. Cropped at low yields of 36 hectoliters per hectare, it has a good inner core of depth as well as sweetness. I do not think it will hit the heights of the perfect 1989, but it is a beautifully made, broad, medium to full-bodied claret with vigor, freshness, great texture, and not one trace of over-ripeness. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2025.

Score: 95/98Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (152), April 2004

This has a lovely lift on the nose with scents of blackberry, a touch of black olives and forest floor. Good definition: very Pessac. The palate is full-bodied, quite burly and savoury with cassis, blackberry and a touch of cedar. Lacks a little finesse for me. Huge grip on the finish, which has a slight irony element to it. A great wine compromised by the growing season. Drink 2012-2025.

Score: 92Neal Martin, eRobertParker.com, March 2008

Complex aromas of black licorice, tobacco, cedar and red fruits. The finish lasts for minutes. Loads of fruit. A beauty.

Score: 96James Suckling, Wine Spectator, February 2006

Score: 95/100James Suckling, Wine Spectator (April 04), April 2004

Incredibly intense aromas of tobacco, chocolate, toasted oak and currants. Super-ripe and exotic. This reminds me of the 1989. Jean-Philippe Delmas says that it could be better than 2000. I certainly agree.

 James Suckling, Wine Spectator

Full-bodied, thick and rich, offering apple, honey and pear character with just a hint of vanilla. Long and powerful, this really builds on the palate. Subtle yet well-built. A solid white. Goes on and on. Best after 2008.

Score: 94James Suckling, WineSpectator.com, January 2007

Very dark ruby. Light and racy and definitely more aerien than most. A little bit tart and green on the end. Hard work! (Average group score: 16.7)

Score: 17Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, October 2010

Impressively dark for a 2003 with colour right out to the rim. Nothing like the intensity of, say, the 2005 on the nose. Lightly dusty/tarry, certainly La Mission, but without real concentration on the mid palate. Mild and gentle compared with many 2003s – no excess of aggressive dry tannins on the finish. Fades rather fast but there is some freshness. Such a contrast to 2005 with its massive dose of everything!Drink 2008-17

Score: 17Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, May 2008

Score: 17.5+Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 04), April 2004

Score: 17.5/18Michael Schuster, The World of Fine Wine (1), April 2004

Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.