Château Haut-Brion is the oldest of Bordeaux’s five first growths, and one of the most famous wines in the world. Located in Pessac-Léognan, south of the city of Bordeaux, the château is rather far removed from its counterparts, all of which are found in the Médoc. Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild and Latour are all in Pauillac, while Château Margaux is – unsurprisingly – in Margaux.
The property is in the northern Graves on the outskirts of Bordeaux, and is now surrounded by encroaching buildings and roads. It is also flanked by La Mission Haut-Brion, which was bought by Haut-Brion’s owners in the early 1980s.
The majority of the estate’s 51 hectares (126 acres) of vineyard is planted to red varieties with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot covering 48 hectares (118 acres) while three hectares (7.5 acres) are given over to Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.
The Haut-Brion cuvée tends to have more Merlot than the wines from the Medoc, with Cabernet Sauvignon in more of a supporting role (this is reflected in the vineyard). As such, Haut-Brion is more rounded and softer than other Left Bank wines. The château describes the wine as having an empyreumatic (charred organic matter) bouquet.
The château’s second wine has been known as La Clarence de Haut-Brion since 2007.
The color is dark red; the nose intense and enticing, with bursts of red fruit. The wine starts out tight yet flavorful on the palate, then quickly reveals a dense and silky tannic structure. Fresh fruit dominates the finish, leaving a pleasant, ethereal impression. With its density and tannic structure, this wine is reminiscent of the 2006 vintage.