|Subregion||France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pessac-Léognan|
The undisputed king of Bordeaux's dry white wines. It is produced in miniscule quantities: the 2.8 hectare vineyard rarely makes much more than 500 dozen bottles a year from a blend of around 2/3 Sémillon and 1/3 Sauvignon Blanc.
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A blend of 71.4% Sauvignon Blanc and 28.6% Semillon, the 2020 Haut-Brion Blanc races out with vibrant notes of lime juice, yuzu zest, and lemongrass, followed by suggestions of beeswax, wet slate, sea spray, and fennel seed. The medium-bodied palate offers a wonderfully satiny texture with beautifully balanced acidity cutting through the intense, tightly wound layers, finishing long and minerally.
Lots of sliced cooked apple, pear, flint, and matchstick aromas. Full-bodied and dense, yet agile and bright. Rich HB white with lemon curd. Oily and slightly heavy but comes through energetic at the end. 72% sauvignon and 28% semillon. Drink or hold.
The 2020 Haut-Brion Blanc also exhibits a deft touch of youthful reduction, unwinding in the glass to offer up aromas of nectarine, peach, grapefruit and Sauvignon botanicals, followed by a full-bodied, broad and fleshy palate that's layered and integrated, concluding with a delicately oak-inflected finish. This, too, has turned out nicely. 2023 - 2035
The 2020 Haut-Brion Blanc has a very classy bouquet, not quite as expressive as the La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc, yet very detailed and mineral-driven, with hints of almond and a light hazelnut/fumé scents that loiter off-stage. The palate is very well balanced with a smooth texture, and wonderful depth. It exhibits a little more concentration than the La Mission with a sensual, grapefruit and lemon verbena finish tinged with saffron. Superb, but it deserves time in bottle.
Grippy fresh, green-tinged flavours, a little more evident than in the Mission Haut-Brion Blanc, here you get more angular acidities, and yet it works. Sauvignon-dominant flavours and aromatics of rosemary, mint, turmeric, lime blossom and steely citrus. Excellent persistency and a deliciously mouthwatering finish. Harvest from 20th to 27th August.
Drinking Window 2022 - 2034
That distinctive, embossed bottle full is 1,300 g. 71.4% Sauvignon Blanc, 28.6% Sémillon. Cask sample taken 12 April. Picked from 20 to 27 August. Estimated alcohol 13.9%.
Very pale greenish straw. Far from the most opulent Haut-Brion Blanc, this is playing the fresh and subtle card, with just a hint of sweet smokiness, Perhaps the team was keen to hang on to such acidity as was available after the hot, dry summer since it seems pretty soft? Decidedly reticent at the moment. It's always so difficult to give a drinking date for Haut-Brion Blanc since it seems to go into a funk at about four years. But it has so many waxy layers even at this early stage … it may well blossom into something truly remarkable but for the moment its stablemate La Mission Blanc seems to have much more vitality.
Drink 2023 – 2035
(71% SB, 29% SM; 14% ABV)
Pale yellow, cloudy; like the La Mission blanc, discreet and closed, with ripe guava being the principal impression, and the Sauvignon very “mute”; full, relatively supple, with adequate acidity, but clearly in a softer, hot-year style, gently mouthfilling, fairly complex and long to taste, but considering what it can be, and often is, this lacks real race and drive on the mid-palate, but has excellent, Sauvignon Blanc-fragrant length. Good, of course, but some way from a grand vintage (like 2017 or 2014). This will likely age gracefully—the 1982, drunk recently, was wonderful at nearly 40 years—though that would not, I think, have been 14% ABV. 2028–40+?
The 2020 Haut-Brion Blanc, which was picked August 20–27, has a tightly wound bouquet that requires 30–40 minutes to open, revealing well-defined aromas of green apples and Conference pear, light minty scents and hints of persimmon. The palate is taut and fresh with a little more depth than the La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc this year, though the major difference is that I find more mineralité and tension on the finish, hence my higher score. Excellent. Drink 2025-2055.
Very perfumed with floral, citrus and stone aromas, as well as hints of grapefruit. It’s full-bodied and seamless in texture. Extremely long and fine-grained. 72% sauvignon and 28% semillon. Normally 50/50.
A blend of 71.4% Sauvignon Blanc and 28.6% Semillon, harvested 20th to 27th August and with an alcohol of 13.9%, the 2020 Haut-Brion Blanc slowly unfurls to reveal notes of fresh pears, spiced apple slices, orange zest and lemongrass, plus touches of wet pebbles, dillseed and baking bread. The medium-bodied palate wears its lightly spicy apple and pear layers with grace and sophistication, supported by a racy backbone and subtly creamy texture, finishing long and mineral laced. It will need time, but there's no doubting it's a knock-out. Drink 2028-2045.