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Haut Brion 2008

Subregion France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pessac-Léognan
Grape VarietyMerlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc

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Tasting Notes

This is profound! 2008 Haut-Brion: The extraordinary 2008 Haut-Brion is a candidate for -wine of the vintage.- Composed of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc, it reveals more evolution and complexity in its large-scaled perfume. The dense purple color is followed by a sweet nose of creosote, asphalt, blueberries, black currants and jammy raspberries, sweet tannins, a savory, fleshy mouthfeel and a stunning finish. This incredibly pure, noble wine was produced from one of the estate-s smallest crops (only 7,000 cases produced versus the usual 12,000 cases). It should drink well for three decades or more.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (194), May 2011

The 2008 Haut Brion has a very perfumed and floral bouquet: ebullient raspberry coulis and crushed strawberry fruit, sage and a hint of black olive. It just builds momentum in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin. It feels a little grainy in texture, centered upon gravelly black fruit laced with black olive and smoke. It felt more austere than I expected, the finish reserved and somehow "contained" and yet the aftertaste is extraordinarily long. Avoid opening bottles for now because this was always one of the standout wines of the vintage, but at 10 years old it might be going through a dumb phase. 2025 - 2055

Neal Martin, vinous.com, February 2018

A very complex wine, with black licorice, sweet tobacco, blackberry and earth. Full-bodied and long, with big, juicy tannins and lots of bright fruit, mushroom, earth and decadent fruit flavors. The most powerful wine of the vintage. Only 35 percent of the total production (normally this is 50 percent or 55 percent). Shows the selection.

James Suckling, WineSpectator.com, April 2009

41% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc.Much deeper colour than La Mission 2008. Really powerful dark purple colour. Minerals and lightness of touch on the nose. The most solid red from this stable but a little muted at this stage. Very firm, even slightly austere Cabernet tannins and pretty drying on the finish. Far from opulent. Needs, like La Mission, to put on a bit of flesh. Medium persistence. Impressive purity of fruit - the opposite of tarted up.

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2009

Although the black fruited mix on the nose is ripe with lots of richness and depth there is an
attractive smoky character. The palate has a sweetness of flavour blackcurrant and black cherry
underpinned by liquorice and bitter chocolate. The tannins give structure but feel ripe and the
finish is supple and fruit rich. 2015-2035

Derek Smedley MW, November 2012

(50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc; final blend represents 35% of the crop.) Fine black-red, really lovely, seductive small berry fruit, already satiny in texture on the palate with great precision of fruit, but also quite fleshy in a restrained sense, a wine of great breed and class that will show the earthy/taffeta style of Haut-Brion to perfection. Drink 2020-40.

Steven Spurrier, Decanter.com, April 2009
Read more tasting notes...

Production for the 2008 Haut-Brion represents only 35% of the grapes harvested, and while production can be over 12,000 cases in an abundant vintage, 2008 will be one of their smallest ever, with only 7,000 cases produced from a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc. The 2008 reminds me of a hypothetical blend of the 1996 and 1998. It is a classic, elegant, but substantial Haut-Brion with a dense ruby/purple color as well as crushed rock, spring flower, blueberry, and black currant characteristics presented in a vivid, vibrant, full-bodied style that cuts an ethereal feel across the palate. Haut-Brion is somewhat akin to Cheval Blanc in that it can be seemingly light on the palate, but very intense in flavor. That is the case with the 2008. There is plenty of tannin, but it is very ripe. This impressive, deep wine requires patience, and a ten year wait is mandatory. This formidable Haut-Brion should have a 40-50 year lifeline.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (182), April 2009

Tasted ex-château and single blind in Southwold. Tasted from two bottles, the Haut Brion 2008 has an austere, quite earthy bouquet with brambly red fruit, wild strawberry and cranberry, well-integrated new oak and palpable mineralité. The palate is medium-bodied with a succulent entry; fine acidity, very svelte tannins with judicious creamy new oak rounding off the seductive, yet muscular finish with a peacock's tail of graphite and sous-bois on the aftertaste. Difficult to separate from La Mission at the moment, although I think this is the longer-term bet. Tasted January 2012.

Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, January 2012

A blend of 41% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Cabernet Franc. The nose is very expressive, ripe redcurrants, wild strawberries, a touch of gravel and a little wild hedgerow and black plum. The bouquet appears to be more expressive than recent vintages. The palate is very well balanced and slightly grainy, very fresh, lots of energy on the finish with a minerally undertow. The focus is very impressive: one feels this is an Haut-Brion that will blossom after bottling, for unlike the nose, the palate feels as if it is holding something back. Firm tannins, traces of earth and bay leaf on the finish. Excellent - but patience is necessary. Tasted April 2009

Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, April 2009

The nose is power packed a rich mix of blackberry and sloe backed by smoky fragrances. The weight of fruit showing on the nose is there on the palate, lots of black fruited flavours. Although the tannins are firm forming a cage around the fruit they feel ripe so not detracting from the richness.

Derek Smedley MW, April 2009
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.