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The mineral-laced 2005 Haut Brion (56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc) is exquisite. With its elegance and finesse, it is not as powerful as La Mission, but the nobility and complexity of the aromatics, incredible fragrance (subtle smoke and blue, red, and black fruits) that persists in the glass, full-bodied mouthfeel (though very light and delicate on its feet), and incredible length characterize this great Haut-Brion. It is just starting to drink well, and should continue to do so for at least another three decades. It is a tour de force in winemaking, but only 9,000 cases were produced. Drink 2015-2045.
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: 2017-2040+
The 2005 Haut-Brion is another wine that has put on weight over the last year. While I still believe the 1989 is the great classic, it is difficult not to admire the architectural structure and seriousness of this extraordinarily elegant effort. A blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon (which came in around 14% natural alcohol), 39% Merlot (over 13% natural alcohol), and 5% Cabernet Franc, only 9,000 cases were produced in this vintage, significantly less than in other great years such as 2000 or 1998. It appears to be a big, bulked-up version of the 1996 or 1995. While almost primordial in its denseness, richness, and body, it retains its elegance and surreal nose of flowers, cherries, pain grille, crushed rocks, flowers, and ripe fruit. Powerful, dense, and in need of a decade of cellaring, this will be a 30 to 40-year Haut-Brion that should end up being a modern day version of the 1955. Although closed at present, it is enormously impressive, and is a treat to taste next to the more flamboyant La Mission Haut-Brion. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2040+.
The 2005 Haut-Brion is an extraordinarily broad, rich, full-bodied effort boasting huge aromas of scorched earth, plum sauce, sweet cherries, black currants, and a hint of toasty oak. The wine possesses huge tannins, which is somewhat deceptive given its viscosity and opulence. Despite its intensity, Haut-Brion is always a model of elegance and symmetry. The profound 2005, which will undoubtedly shut down after bottling, should be less seductive in its youth than either the 1989 or 1990, but it will be incredibly long-lived. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2040+.
The Château Haut-Brion 2005, which unlike the rest of the First Growth was tasted from magnum, has a more audacious and sensual bouquet compared to the La Mission Haut-Brion with copious black cherries, cooked meat, mint and wild heather scents. You could sit and nose this all day. The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannins. The harmony will leave you breathless. It is underpinned by nigh perfect acidity and astounding weight. Yet it does not overwhelm and remains faithfully classic in style. It is difficult to fault this Haut Brion and do not be surprised if it one day ends up joining the ranks of the 1961, 1989 or 2000. Drink 2020 - 2060
This is a wine that makes you dream. The nose is packed with flowers, sweet tobacco, iodine, spices, raspberries, blackberries, and great freshness. The texture is perfection, pure silk and the fruit is wonderfully complex and subtle. Currants, fresh mushrooms, flowers, and stones fill the mouth and make way to a delightful finish. Please leave this alone until 2020.
Superdark for Haut-Brion. The nose is mindblowing. Exotic. Like a bouquet of flowers with raspberries and currants as well as Chinese spices and fruits. Hints of new wood. Full-bodied, with ultrarefined tannins and great length-goes on and on. This is on its way to 100 points. Better than 1989.
One of my wines of the night, the 2005 Haut-Brion is stratospheric. Remarkably vivid and nuanced, the 2005 presents a compelling mélange of dark flavors laced with the savory/mineral notes that are so typical of Haut-Brion. The 2005 is a thrill to follow in the glass, as it continually reveals new shades of its personality, something I consider a common attribute among all of the world's truly great wines. The dense, explosive finish points to a very bright future. Readers who own the 2005 should be thrilled, as it is truly magnificent.
Tasted blind. Exotic, voluptuous nose. Rich and velvety. Arguably over the top but pretty damned glorious really. Still masses of tannins but this could be a very ambitious left bank first!
From an exceedingly handsome magnum. Very healthy-looking shaded dark ruby. Looks sumptuous. Broad, ripe, flattering warm-bricks Haut-Brion nose. Very heady and gorgeous indeed. Neat and contained but so layered and lovely! The tannins are well in retreat even in this magnum (although they make their presence felt on the very end) but the wine seems sufficiently well built that it will last decades. Very seductive and true to its origins. I hope that most experienced drinkers would be able to identify this blind - a great compliment to it. Not heavy but very dense. 14%
Positively glows! Sweet and luscious with lots of obvious Merlot - maybe more evolved than most Bordeaux 2005s would be? Unusual, a little obviously sweet but very winning indeed. More forward than most. Complex and gorgeous. Drink 2010 - 2022.Date tasted 20th Feb 09.
Bright, deep crimson. Super-healthy looking. Briary autumn leaf like nose. Strongly aromatic. Very dry start but with wonderful spread of ripe, leafy fruit, plus a hint of ripe red berries, over the palate. Only medium body – it’s not alcohol but concentration that distinguishes this wine. Very dry finish and then an aftertaste that spreads out like a peacock’s tail. Great potential but it would be a shame to drink this for at least 8, preferably 10, years.Drink 2018-40
56% M 39% CS, 5% CF (45% grand vin). Very very dark crimson with maroon rim. Truly great, very savoury, appetising absolutely classic, true Haut-Brion scents of minerals as a grace note on extraordinary ripeness without fatness. Bravissimo! What delicacy with power! There is masses and masses dug in underneath here - weight and tannin and dryness on the finish but it's all covered with a fine cashmere blanket. A tiny bit of heat on the end? Extraordinary fan of flavours. Great lift and precision and then length. Absolutely no sweetness - what a contrast to many of yesterday's St-Emilions! You wouldn't think they were at all in the same region. Drink 2018-40
Bright ruby-red. Wonderfully expressive nose combines black raspberry, mocha, hot stones, caramel and tobacco. Lush, fat and full but with terrific definition and suavity to its extravagantly dense black raspberry, stone and licorice flavors. As large-scaled as this is, it's not at all overly sweet. Expands impressively on the back half, finishing with substantial tannins that are thoroughly covered by fruit. A great vintage for Haut-Brion.
A magical wine that just has it all. Elegant bouquet of dark fruits with a note of violet and added pinch of complexity. Beautifully textured palate of layered fruit and fine, silky tannins. Great depth and wonderful freshness and balance. Drink 2015-2040