Haut Brion 2017


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 is one of the most consistently great wine of Bordeaux. Since 1958 it has been bottled in the unique and iconic Haut Brion bottle. Situated in the suburbs of the city of Bordeaux, the 48 hectares of red grape varieties are planted with 45% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The second wine used to be known as "Bahans Haut Brion" but is now called "Clarence Haut Brion". Under the same ownership is neighbour La Mission Haut Brion and Quintus in St Emilion.

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Tasting Notes

The 2017 Haut-Brion was picked from 31 August to 29 September, the longest harvest ever, matured in 69% new oak with 14.25% alcohol (lower than recent vintages.) It has a more generous bouquet than the La Mission Haut-Brion at this point: black cherries, blueberry, a little confit fruit, hints of warm gravel and clove. It is much more restrained than the previous vintages – cooler and linear. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin, nicely structured with more grip in the mouth than the La Mission. What it has in common with the aforementioned is a sense of symmetry. It feels very persistent with a light marine/oyster shell influence on the finish. This probably has the edge over the La Mission Haut-Brion at the moment, but intra-family competitiveness aside, it boils down to a great follow-up to the brilliant 2015 and 2016. Drink 2022 - 2050.

Score: 94/96Neal Martin, vinous.com, May 2018

Composed of 53% Merlot, 40.7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6.3% Cabernet Franc, the very deep purple-black colored 2017 Haut-Brion is a little closed on the nose, revealing fresh blackberries, black currants and dark chocolate with suggestions of pencil shavings, beef drippings, tilled soil and cracked black pepper plus a waft of lavender. Medium to full-bodied, it has very firm, ripe, grainy tannins and a lively backbone structuring the tightly knit earth and black fruit layers, finishing with compelling mineral and perfumed layers.

Score: 95/97Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (236), April 2018

A tight and focused red with dark-berry, chocolate and hazelnut character. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a linear and fine finish. Very refined. Elegant and balanced.

Score: 95/96James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2018

The 2017 Haut-Brion is intriguing. Less powerful and explosive than it can be, in 2017 Haut-Brion makes its case with persistence over heft. Time in the glass brings out attractive suggestions of tobacco, game, bacon fat, iron and wild cherry. It will be interesting to see where the 2017 goes from here. Today, it lacks the visceral thrill that makes the best vintages utterly irresistible, even if the phenomenally long finish is a thing of real beauty. The blend is 53% Merlot, 40.7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6.3% Cabernet Franc.

Score: 93/96Antonio Galloni, vinous.com (236), May 2018

Colour of black cherries with healthy crimson rim. Warm oak spice over cool dark fruit. Succulent, mouth-watering and so supple. There's a core of pure black fruit and an elegance in both non-sweet fruit and fine-boned structure but all with a discreet generosity. Needs time to meld but it's magnetic in its attraction. Perhaps a little less rich than La Mission but more intense and persistent at this stage.
Drink 2027-2047

Score: 17.5+Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2018

Haut Brion had no frost in 2017 and yields were similar to those of 2016. The blend is a fairly classic marriage of Merlot and Cabernet - 53% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc. Haut Brion traditionally starts picking some 2 weeks before the North of the Medoc and they started the red harvest this year on August 31st, finishing on 29th September. Alcohol 14.25. Jean-Philippe Delmas says that the wine is the product of a dry summer but not a hot one. It is like the 2014 but with more charm or the 2012 with more flesh. Looking back he says that it reminds him of the 2001. A deep ruby in the glass with a brooding, reticent nose of black fruits, earthy flint, and a touch of roasted coffee bean. The palate is opulent, with a velvet texture from ripe, mouthcoating tannins and notes of blackberry, blackcurrant and black cherry. The acidity seems lower than for many wines in this vintage, but it is still bright and lifts the finish to turn the fruits to blossom, pairing wonderfully with the exotic spices and moccha that linger from the well-judged use of oak. This is a hedonistic Haut Brion that still retains the poise and harmony of the best wines in this vintage.

Score: 17+Farr Vintners, April 2018

Concentrated fruit the nose has a rich mix of black fruits the palate cassis and black cherry depth of flavour. It is more restrained at the back fragrance and freshness fine tannins the finish long stylish and elegant. Drink 2027 - 2040.

Score: 92/95Derek Smedley MW, DerekSmedleyMW.co.uk, May 2018

A hugely captivating wine, one of the contenders for red of the vintage. There's an incredible plush, dense texture to the fruit here, with just the slightest pulling back on the final section that suggests the damson, cassis and black cherry fruit is not at the full extent of ripeness seen in 2016 and 2015, but there is absolutely no question that this is a successful, rich and well-expressed wine. It's extremely powerful and well constructed, with great tannins and a succulence which grows through the palate. 3.73pH.
Drinking Window 2026 - 2042

Score: 97Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2018

This is another heroic Haut-Brion and like its partner across Avenue Jean Jaurès it has a tannin structure and freshness which are uniquely appealing. There is more stern fruit here and it is straight-jacketed in strict tannins and bold brushstrokes of acidity. The flavour is a little reluctant to emerge and yet there is spice here and also both red and black fruit (whereas La Mission focussed more on the black side). There is also a lovely tender floral scent which hovers over the glass. It is a key to the fascinating top notes which will undoubtedly emerge given time. 2017 Haut-Brion will need a long while to slumber before it is ready to perform, so do not be in a hurry.

Score: 19+Matthew Jukes, Matthew Jukes' Blog, April 2018

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.