As for the 2010 Haut-Brion, it does not have the power of Latour's 2010 or the intense lead pencil shavings and chocolaty component of Lafite-Rothschild, but it is extraordinary, perfect wine. It has a slightly lower pH than the 2009 (3.7 versus the 2009's 3.8), and even higher alcohol than the 2009 (14.6%). The wine is ethereal. From its dense purple color to its incredibly subtle but striking aromatics that build incrementally, offering up a spectacular smorgasbord of aromas ranging from charcoal and camphor to black currant and blueberry liqueur and spring flowers, this wine's finesse, elegant yet noble power and authority come through in a compelling fashion. It is full-bodied, but that's only apparent in the aftertaste, as the wine seems to float across the palate with remarkable sweetness, harmony, and the integration of all its component parts - alcohol, tannin, acidity, wood, etc. This prodigious Haut-Brion is hard to compare to another vintage, at least right now, but it should have 50 to 75 years of aging potential. Anticipated maturity: 2022-2065+.
Kudos to the team at Haut-Brion and to the proprietors, the Dillon family, who are now represented admirably and meticulously by Prince Robert of Luxembourg. He has made some changes, and all of them seem to have resulted in dramatic improvements to what was already an astonishing group of wines.
Pure perfection and one of truly legendary wines out there, the 2010 is 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, and the balance Cabernet Franc that hit a whopping 14.6% natural alcohol, with a healthy pH of 3.7. This deep rich, opulent beauty is just now at the early stages of its prime drink window and has an incredible array of blackcurrants, chocolate, truffly earth, graphite, and hints of tobacco. A massive wine in every sense, it still somehow stays weightless and graceful, with silky, building tannins, flawless balance, and just everything in the right place. It needs an hour or two in a decanter if drinking any time soon, and it's going to have upwards of 75-100 years of ultimate longevity.
Deep garnet in color, the 2010 Haut-Brion charges out of the gate with exuberant notes of crème de cassis, blueberry pie and baked plums followed by nuances of dark chocolate, licorice and cloves. Full-bodied, the palate has lots of subtle earth and mineral accents with a firm, finely grained texture and great freshness lifting the long finish. Drink 2024-2060.
The 2010 Haut-Brion is a bit of a monster at the moment. I don't mean that pejoratively. Black fruit, melted tar and Earl Grey soar on the nose, perhaps showing a little more mineralité than prior bottles. The palate is huge (more concentrated than the 2010 La Mission served alongside); it's almost burly and grippy with a muscular finish. This is going to need many years to be tamed. Tasted at the château.
This is very spicy with dried mushroom aromas with dark fruits and plum undertones. Sweet tobacco as well. This is full-bodied, with lots of tannins that are chewy and firm. This is muscular for HB and flexing it. Try in 2020.
A little less dramatic than La Mission 2010 on the nose. Savoury and a bit low key but velvety textured and with masses there. Really very exciting with mass and pace. A great Haut-Brion with such energy and savour. 15%
Drink 2022 – 2050
Without doubt one of the world's greatest and most individual wine estates. The family traditions continue here with Jean-Philippe Delmas running the wine-making as his father and grandfather did before him and Clarence Dillon's great-grandson Robert de Luxembourg in overall charge of this wonderful property. Haut Brion - unlike the other First Growths - has never had a bad period and, for our money, is the most consistent great wine of Bordeaux. This year was the driest here since 1949 and that has resulted in a yield of 40 hl/ha (down from 46 hl/ha last year). A further difference is that 20% of the fruit was relegated to a 3rd label (only 3% last year), meaning that only 42% of the crop made it into the grand vin. Consequently there are only 7800 cases for the world. This is the darkest coloured Haut Brion ever and also (at 14.6 degrees) the highest alcohol level ever! However this is barely noticeable thanks to the strong acidity and tannins. It is a wine of awesome balance. There is incredible richness and concentration here and thanks to the low Merlot consituent (only 23% compared to the normal 50%) it has much more of a Cabernet Sauvignon style to it with mint, spice and eucalyptus notes. There is lots of Havana cigar, barbecue and roasted meat character and a waft of freshly laid road tar. The wine is massive but controlled. It seems like the ultimate Haut Brion to us. This wine should develop into something like the 1989 but with even more of everything. Simply sensational.
Sappy, tongue-coating pastis, blackberry coulis and loganberry fruit starts this huge wine off, followed by a parade of licorice snap, violet, tar, black tea, roasted alder, wood spice and steeped black cherry fruit notes. A beam of pure cassis drives through this version, and the finish pulls everything together with a mouthwatering brambly edge that should soften slowly over time. A riveting display of brawny power, unbridled energy and high-level terroir. Best from 2020 through 2040.
There is a black fruited power to the nose rich deep flavours. Minty blackcurrant is backed by black cherry and firmer sloe layers of flavour that give complexity. The mid palate is profound and deep intense structured yet with an attractive suppleness towards the back.
Stunning aromas of beautifully concentrated red fruits, already expressive, even exuberant, a taffeta-like finesse hides great strength for the long term. Drink 2020-45.
The 2010 La Mission Haut-Brion has a very flattering bouquet with detailed red and black fruit laced with chestnut, cedar and sous-bois. This is supremely well focused. The palate is medium-bodied with fine grain tannins. There is immense depth here, more savoury than expected with chestnut once again, white pepper and a tinge of dried blood towards the finish. Outstanding.
Following a harvest that finished on October 10, Haut-Brion produced a 2010 that should turn out to be one of its all-time greats ... an amazing feat given what they have accomplished over recent vintages. A blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc that came in at 14.6% alcohol, the 2010 boasts an opaque purple color as well as a gorgeous perfume of scorched earth/burning embers, blueberries, black currant liqueur and crushed rocks. Full and opulent with nobility, finesse, purity and elegance, this amazing effort possesses extraordinary levels of extract as well as formidable, but sweet, well-integrated tannins. It requires 8-10 years of cellaring and should drink well for 50+ years.
Tasted blind at the Southwold Bordeaux 2010 tasting. The Haut-Brion 2010 is a stunning wine that provoked a few perfect scores around the table. It is blessed with a compelling bouquet with superb precision and focus: wonderful mineralite, slightly conservative and withdrawn and yet displaying immense clarity and terroir expression. With continued aeration there is just a hint of the sea surfacing and one never detects the 14.6% alcohol. The palate is backward, tannic and broody, but immensely powerful and multi-layered. This is a multi-dimensional wine, very long and persistency in the mouth with a bewilderingly complex finish. Tasted January 2014.
Tasted at Chateau Haut-Brion. The first impression is that the aromatics upon the Haut-Brion almost cower compared directly against the ebullient, vivacious La Mission. It is probably an unfair comparison. Over time in the glass, it unfurls a little to reveal understated mineral-rich black fruit, tar and cigar box aromas. After 30 minutes and interchanging with an empty glass, it really opens up with hints of black olive and sea foam. The palate is very refined: a real class act. The tannins are fine but firm, initially a little austere and bashful but opening to reveal a sensual Haut Brion with just a touch of leafiness, allied with sublime freshness and delineation. It is keeping its secrets close to its chest at the moment, although the finish is very persistent and focused. It will require a decade cellaring. Tasted November 2012.
Tasted at the Union de Grand Cru in London. The Chateau Haut-Brion 2009 is blessed with a very complex, but almost understated bouquet, the Cabernet Sauvignon (40%) much more pronounced here imparting more undergrowth/tobacco aromas at present. Very fine definition and freshness but more taciturn. The palate is medium-bodied with a brightness on the entry that makes up for the introverted aromatics. Very good acidity, fresh and very tense, again the Cabernet defining the finish with touches of graphite and cedar. Grippy, austere finish at the moment, suggesting that this is a long-term Haut-Brion, but going back and forth between the two neighbours, I feel that this has edge in terms of finesse. Tasted September 2011.
A blend of 23% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc, this has a quintessential Haut-Brion nose with that trait of fresh black olives defining the nose straight out of the blocks. It is a little less opulent than La Mission but with slightly better clarity at this stage. The palate displays very fine, succulent tannins and like the La Mission there is a Pauillac-like personality thanks to the graphite imparted by the ripe Cabernet Sauvignon. Wonderful definition towards the finish. This is a superb Haut-Brion. Tasted March 2011.
Wonderful aromas of dark fruits with sweet tobacco and lilac character. Blackberries too. Amazing nose. This is tight and powerful with beautiful tannins and a racy structure. It lasts for minutes. Super refined yet muscular style of Haut-Brion due to a much lower percentage of Merlot in the blend. I like the 2009 better. Its more typical. This is 57 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 23 percent Merlot and 20 percent Cabernet Franc.
23% Merlot, 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc. 7,800 cases, not 10,000+ as in 2009. 42% grand vin (compared with 57% in 2009). Full, opulent nose in which the classic Haut-Brion aroma is well masked by lots of slightly austere fruit. Very fine tannins - very drying finish. An extremely slow burner. Much drier than La Mission, and at the moment not desperately expressive. Its lips are pursed at the moment, and so are mine tasting it. Unusual to come across such a long-term wine even here. This may not make a massive impact en primeur because it is keeping so much in reserve. I think it will eventually make a great wine but it's surly at the moment. 14.6%