The oldest Bordeaux Grands Crus, Chateau Haut-Brion benefits from a rich heritage built on five centuries of history. Founded in 1533 by Jean de Pontac in the Graves region, the wine by Chateau Haut-Brion was quickly coveted and adored by the greatest European monarchs. In 1663, Samuel Pepys, a member of the English Parliament, unknowingly contributed to the success of Chateau Haut-Brion through his diary, writing "And here drank a sort of French wine, called Ho Bryan, that has a good and most particular taste that I never met...’’ The legend was born. First Grand Cru Classe outside of the Medoc region in 1855 and recognised as a Cru Classe in the 1959 Official Graves Wine Classification, Chateau Haut-Brion continues to write the legend of the world's finest wines by confirming, vintage after vintage, its exceptional consistency.
A true gem among the fine Pessac-Leognan wines, in the Bordeaux region, Chateau Haut-Brion has an exceptional terroir that rests on soils composed of multicolored gravel. From one vintage to another, the estate produces incredibly consistent sumptuous, elegant, precise wines.
The year 2011 was marked by the driest spring since 1949. The rainy spells during the summer months were beneficial in refining the ripeness of the grapes. The harvest took place during a relatively dry month of September.
Cabernet Sauvignon (46%)
Cabernet Franc (19%).
The color is a beautiful deep red.
Intense, the nose blends fragrances of ripe black fruit and cocoa beans with delicious smoky notes of liquorice.
The attack is fine and elegant. The palate showcases an alluring power with its coated tannins as well as its beautifully persistent finish.
Tasted blind as a vintage comparison at the Valandraud vertical, the 2011 Haut Brion has always been an excellent Pessac-Léognan, though recent encounters suggest it does not have the potential of the 2012. It has a gentle and caressing bouquet full of copious dark cherry and raspberry fruit, a touch of saddle leather and a seam of dark chocolate emanating from the oak regime, which needs more time to integrate (though it is not an Haut-Brion that is going to demand years and years in bottle). The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin and feels gentle in the mouth. It is very well balanced, although perhaps the oak comes through too strongly on the finish, when frankly there is no need. Nevertheless, this is a classic Pessac-Léognan - maybe mild mannered and a little conservative compared to more ambitious recent vintages, yet there is no doubting its class and pedigree. Tasted December 2016.