The 2012 Haut Brion (65% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc) is certainly one of the candidates for the wine of the vintage, with a dense purple color, classic nose of crushed rock, lead pencil shavings, black raspberry, blueberry and flowers. The wine shows subtle barbecue smoke notes in the background, but is full-bodied, stunningly concentrated and builds incrementally, yet finishes with luxurious, almost extravagant amounts of fruit and intensity. From only 46% of the production, this is an absolutely remarkable effort from the Dillon family and their winemaking team of the two Jean-Philippes. Drink it over the next 30-40 years. Drink 2015-2055.
This is fabulous for the vintage with a super long finish of ultra-fine tannins. Full and racy with a wonderful texture. This is the most Merlot ever in Haut-Brion. Rich too. One of the wines of the vintage. 65.5% Merlot, 32.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Cabernet Franc.
Whiff of gunsmoke reduction, opening up to show concentrated dark berry fruit with liqourice, pencil lead, campfire and black truffle. Stately and muscular, a brilliant counterpoint to the grace of La Mission Haut-Brion. Grips the palate, this is one of the highest alcohol wines in the vintage and yet it is balanced, with so much flavour and presence that just fills the palate and hangs on. I remember loving this En Primeur, and at the 10 years on mark it remains one of the wines of the vintage. 100% new oak.
65.5% Merlot, 32.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc. Much less aromatic than La Mission. Dense and dark. Rich and sumptuous. Some spiciness. Very broad and rich. Very grand. And easy to see where it comes from and how it will proceed. Very pure. Much more forward than La Mission. Zesty but with grandeur and great persistence. Drink 2022-2045
This combines power and refinement, with a singed alder frame
around a dense core of red and black currant, plum and blackberry
fruit. Notes of bay, black tea and tar line the finish. Has a
lovely, fine-grained feel that lets the dark, hefty fruit drape beautifully.
The tobacco element hangs in the background. Sneakily
long. Best from 2018 through 2030.
Like La Mission across the road, Haut-Brion wasn't short of ripeness in 2012, partly because
of the high percentage of Merlot, which was the most in 20 years. It's the Merlot which gives
the wine its density and concentration here, showing flavours last seen in 2009 of plum and
black fig, but the Cabernet brings backbone, structure and, crucially, acidity. A wine that
needs time in bottle.
The 2012 Haut-Brion, which represents only 46% of the production, is a blend of 65% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc. One of the stars of the vintage, it is a complete, medium to full-bodied, soft, round, atypically accessible effort displaying lots of minerality along with red and black fruits, exceptional fragrance and purity, a fleshy mid-palate and a long finish. A remarkable fact in both these wines is that the alcohol levels in 2012 hit 14.8%, which nearly equals the record levels achieved in 2010 - that's astonishing! This 2012 should drink well 3-4 years after bottling, and last for 20-25 years.
Tasted blind at the Southwold 2012 tasting, the 2012 Haut-Brion has an open and generous bouquet with blackcurrant pastille, cassis and briary aromas the exude very pure Merlot. The palate is medium-bodied with a sumptuous opening that is rare in 2012: rounded and generous, caressing in the mouth with black plum and blackcurrant towards the finish, residues of truffle and white pepper lingering on the aftertaste that turn very savory after 15 minutes—bacon fat or Italian cured meats. There is a lot to love about this Haut-Brion although in this blind showing I scored it the same as La Mission Haut-Brion. Who will stick their neck out as the two wines mature? Tasted January 2016.
The Grand Vin is a blend of 65.5% Merlot, 32.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc, which is one of the highest percentages of Merlot. It has a ripe, generous bouquet with hints of orange blossom and liquorice infused the red fruit profile. The Merlot clearly defined the character of the 2012. The palate is medium-bodied with a firm grip on the entry - more so than La Mission. This is deeper and more structured than the La Mission, perhaps quite masculine which is quite surprising considering the blend. It has great length. This is one of the great successes of the vintage and there is a clear gap between here and La Mission. Tasted April 2013.