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Haut Brion 2021

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

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 wines 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

A candidate for the title of wine of the vintage, the 2021 Haut-Brion unwinds in the glass with aromas of rich red and black fruit mingled with notions of cigar wrapper, licorice, black truffles, loamy soil and burning embers. Full-bodied, deep and concentrated, it's elegant and multidimensional, with superb depth at the core, lively acids and ultra-refined tannins. Combining the classical proportions of the vintages of two decades ago with the viticultural and winemaking of today, it's a timeless classic in the making, but it's difficult to find an obvious analogy with an older vintage. When pressed, Jean-Philippe Delmas suggests a superior version of the 2014 vintage, and to me, a more concentrated, serious version of the 2012 vintage also comes to mind. What is clear, however, is that this is one of the real high points of 2021. The blend is 50% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Cabernet Franc, and it attained 13.8% alcohol—a percentage point or so lower than in 2020 or 2019.

William Kelley, Wine Advocate (260), April 2022

The 2021 Haut-Brion confirms its fine showing en primeur, cementing its status as one of the wines of the vintage. Its complex bouquet of dark berries and cassis mingled with notions of cigar wrapper and burning embers unfurls in the glass. Full-bodied, deep and velvety, it’s concentrated and layered with a multidimensional core of fruit, sweet tannins and lively acids, concluding with a long, penetrating finish. Reflecting the timeless elegance of Haut-Brions from cooler years, the 2021 will delight Bordeaux purists. Drink 2030-2065.

Yohan Castaing, RobertParker.com, February 2024

Production across the Dillon Estates is down 10% and the Grand Vins are down 20% on last year. Abvs are all roughly 13.5%. The blend for Haut Brion is 50% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Cabernet Franc. Deep ruby colour. Darker fruited than the La Mission, there is an interplay of blackcurrant and forest fruit. The oak is very well judged, offering nutmeg and cinnamon, with a light roast coffee character underneath. The structure is big, chalky and rich. Mouthcoating and grippy tannins coat the focused, intense core of black fruit. The fruit fleshes out impressively on the mid-palate in a very impressive manner for the vintage. Dark fruit, dark chocolate and tobacco drive the palate forward. The sheer number of tannins and the level of grip they provide make this a wine that will need patience. Yet, there is ample fruit to match, and its cool, fine intensity suggest this will develop into a beautifully classic Haut Brion with a balance more akin to the wines of the 90s or early 00s than recent full-bodied wines. A very fine effort that may show even better from bottle.

Thomas Parker MW, Farr Vintners, April 2022

A very structured young Haut-Brion with blackberry, blackcurrant, black-olive and mushroom character. Medium to full-bodied with a driving balance of firm and ripe tannins and gorgeous fruit. 50.3% merlot, 38% cabernet sauvignon and 11.7% cabernet franc.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, May 2022

The 2021 Haut-Brion is a blend of 50% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 12% Cabernet Franc. Deep garnet-purple colored, it needs a lot of swirling and convincing to coax out notions of redcurrant jelly, raspberry coulis, blackcurrant pastilles, and graphite, plus suggestions of cloves, crushed rocks, and underbrush. Medium-bodied, the palate is a little like sucking on stones at this stage, chock full of minerals with emerging black and red fruits, framed by ripe, grainy tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long and earthy. A very different style and expression of Haut-Brion than in recent years, and yet this is equally evocative and simply gorgeous.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent, May 2022

A classical balance, reflecting a vintage that is fairly strict in its aromatic expression, exceptionally successful on this spot. Soft cassis bud, rose petal and rose stem, subdued power that gently builds over the palate. Unquestionably a different architecture to Haut-Brion than over the past few years, and there is a sculpted feel to the cassis and bilberry fruits, still with concentration and weight through the palate, expertly constructed. Feels like a window to the past, and is delicious. Harvest September 13 to October 8, with no Petit Verdot used this year. 73% new oak.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, April 2022

50.3% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11.7% Cabernet Franc. 48 hl/ha. Cask sample.
Bright crimson-purple. Fragrant berry-fruit notes as the wine opens. Smooth and refined on attack, the mid palate full and generous swathing powerful but integrated tannins. Impressive length and drive. Quite a powerhouse for such a complicated year. Huge potential. (JL) 13.8%
Drink 2032 – 2055

James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com, May 2022
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.