Even better, and clearly the best wine made in the Haut-Brion stable in 2003 (the last vintage of the great Jean-Bernard Delmas as administrator), the 2003 Haut-Brion is a blend of 58% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Cabernet Franc that hit 13% natural alcohol, which seemed high at the time, but given more recent vintages is modest. Dark ruby/plum in color, with no amber or orange at the edge, the wine exhibits an abundance of roasted herbs, hot rocks, black currants, plum, and balsamic notes. Quite rich, medium to full-bodied and more complete, with sweeter tannins than La Mission Haut-Brion, this full-bodied Haut-Brion has hit full maturity, where it should stay for at least a decade. Bravo! Drink 2014-2024
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.
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.
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)
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
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.
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+.
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.
Complex aromas of black licorice, tobacco, cedar and red fruits. The finish lasts for minutes. Loads of fruit. A beauty.
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.
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