Chateau Haut-Brion is one of the oldest and most interesting Chateaux in Bordeaux, it is the only property from outside of Medoc to be classified in the 1855 Classification, and it was awarded First Growth status along with Chateau Margaux, Lafite Rothschild, and Latour (Mouton did not become First Growth until 1973).
With over 5 centuries of viticultural history, Chateau Haut-Brion made some of the most incredible wines in Bordeaux, owning 6 three digit perfect scores from Robert Parker (Haut-Brion 1945, 1961, 1989, 2005, 2009, 2010).
Vineyard and Production
Chateau Haut-Brion owns 48.35 hectares of vines, of which 45.4% Merlot, 43.9 Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7 Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot.
The production size of the Grand Vin was a lot bigger 20 years ago than today, the production size of 1995 Haut Brion was 18,000 cases, and 21,600 cases for 1982 Haut Brion. The annual production now is between 7,000 to 10,000 cases (12 bottles) of the Haut Brion, 5000 to 7000 cases of the second wine of Haut Brion (Le Clarence de Haut-Brion, previously known as Bahans Haut Brion), and 650 to 850 cases of the Chateau Haut Brion Blanc.
I have a soft spot for Haut-Brion amongst the First Growth Bordeaux, I find Haut-Brion very distinctive compared to the other 4 First Growths. It is opulent with a sense of deep gravel flavour. Perhaps Haut-Brion is not as flamboyant as Mouton, but the boldness and unparallel quality of Haut-Brion speaks for itself. Also, out of the 5 First Growth Bordeaux, Haut-Brion generally offers better value than the rest of the First Growths. Unlike the highly speculative Lafite and Mouton, Haut Brion prices are much more stable than the other First Growths.
1928 Chateau Haut-Brion
Amazingly sweet and port like! Manuka honey, tawny port, great tannins, weaker acidity from a very hot summer. Slightly vinegar-y on the palate, sour touch of fruits with plenty of old wine taste. Though 88 years old, tannins are still present. Though the wine itself is not undrinkable, it is too old and ‘port-y’ to enjoy more than a glass… Am I 30 years too late for this bottle? (75/100)
1955 Chateau Haut-Brion
An amazing occasion to try Haut Brion 1955. For a legendary wine at this age, it is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime-wine! 1955 was a great vintage before the devastating frost in 1956, which killed many vines in Bordeaux. Most vines were replanted after the frost in 1956.
This 1955 Haut Brion has an incredible age Bordeaux nose. Sweet perfumes of earthy Graves and black truffles. Great concentration. Aged black tea leaves, supreme depth and really shows the backbone of Haut Brion. Great length. (95/100)
1961 Chateau Haut-Brion
What an honour to taste the legendary 1961 Haut-Brion! 1961 Haut Brion is one of the 5 vintages of Haut Brion awarded the perfect three digit score by Robert Parker, and I completely understand why. Tasted next to Haut Brion 2000 and 1989. This 1961 Haut-Brion is majestic and incredibly complex. Deep leathery, smoky tobacco with a layer of sweet dark fruits, red plums, and underbrush gravel. Beautiful concentration and power. Incredible harmony between elegance and structure, the smoky leathery and deep fruits resonates on your palate for a whole minute. Off the charts complexity and length. Makes me wonder how the 1989 Haut-Brion would taste like in 28 years time. (99/100)
1962 Chateau Haut-Brion
The 1962 Haut Brion is not too far behind from the legendary 1961 Haut Brion, which was off the charts. This bottle from an English cellar was on the verge of its live but this still has so much going on. Intriguing, graceful and seriously complex. The nose offers offers an intense mature dark fruit with deep gravel, smoked stewed cherry, gamy fruits with mild tobacco and cassis. Full bodied with more forward style than the 1961. Ultra complex and deep flavours that resonates on your palate. (96/100)
1964 Chateau Haut-Brion
The 1964 Haut Brion is surprisingly fresh and harmonious. The wine came from an English countryside cellar and hasn’t been moved since purchase. 1964 was a decent vintage in Bordeaux although its quality was not praised like the 1962 or the legendary 1961. Haut Brion managed to escape the heavy rain this year. 1964 Haut Brion is an elegant wine with smooth flavours and delicate spices. Sweet red fruits, distinctive gravel, earthy scents of Haut Brion. Tobacco, truffle and cigar box. Outperformance. (92/100)
1976 Chateau Haut-Brion
Bordeaux grape varietals cope much better with heat than Pinot Noir, and that can be observed through hot vintages such as 1976, 2003, 2018. Tasted blind – Bricking colour with slight cloudy sedimentation. Classic red berries, cassis, and savoury meaty and earthy notes. Smooth and resolved tannins with good ripeness. A good vintage from the 60s? Margaux? (84/100)
1981 Chateau Haut-Brion
The 1981 Haut Brion is tired and going downhill. Blooded plums, oxidative red fruits with bell peppers and sappy fruits. Oxidative for a 1981, a wine to avoid. (76/100)
1982 Chateau Haut-Brion
The 1982 Haut Brion is drinking well today. Matured profile of blackberries, dried blackberries, earthy gravel, tobacco, mild smoked game and black truffles. Medium bodied and drinking at sweet spot but just like Chateau Palmer 1982, the 82 Haut Brion is certainly disappointing in the context of a First Growth from 1982. (90/100)
1986 Chateau Haut-Brion
Gorgeous wine. Wouldn’t have guessed it’s from the tannic 1986 vintage. Haut Brion 1986 is lively, rich and focused. This is the third bottle of Haut Brion 86 I tried this month, and all of the three bottles required at least 6 hours in the Decanter to open up. Haut Brion perfumes of cigar, sweet gravel-earthiness, and bouquet of flowers. Great complexity with very polished tannins.
This 1986 is maturing very well but still incredibly youthful. Great backbone, another couple decades of life for sure. (94-95/100)
1989 Chateau Haut-Brion
This bottle of 1989 Haut Brion once again proves its flawlessness and immortality. The 1989 Haut Brion is not your usual 100 Parker point wine that is ultra-extracted with voluptuous concentration. It is one of the most seamless and graceful wines Haut Brion has ever made. Decanted for 6 hours – Compelling aromas of fresh dark fruits, plums and minerals with a brilliantly complex and poised oak smoke, deep earth, gravel, pencil lead, and black olive. With the 1961 Haut Brion in mind, I am confident this 1989 Haut Brion will drink wonderfully over the next 50 years. (99-100/100)
The 1989 Haut Brion is one of the best Bordeaux I have ever had, and If I had to choose a desert island Bordeaux, it would probably be 1989 Haut Brion. 1989 Haut Brion has the perfect combination of opulence, elegance, and hedonism. At 28 years of age, it is young and drinking well now, but will last for many more decades. Excellent richness and refinement, perfectly ripe and silky fruits. Creme de cassis, deep gravel accent, full-bodied yet not excessive. 1989 Haut Brion has the perfect roundness and plush, velvety texture of Haut Brion. It is perfect in every way, I am left speechless. (100/100)
1994 Chateau Haut-Brion
There is something beautiful about first growth wines, they’re so irresistible! Seductive, complex and in depth, even in average vintages. Opulent nose of cassis, dark plum, some dried meat and dazzling HB spice rack. Fully mature, graphite and black tea. Soft and seductive on the palate with a bit of chewy tannins. Beautifully balanced.
‘Off-vintage’ first growth wines still offers an incredible nose, and are usually approachable a lot sooner. (91/100)
1995 Chateau Haut-Brion
One factor I adore about Haut Brion is the blend of grape variety, especially emphasising the Merlot and Cabernet Franc grape on the Left Bank. The 1995 Haut Brion is much more approachable than 1995 Margaux and Mouton, it opened up nicely with sweet mixed fruits and cigar box. Lovely expression. Gorgeous mixed berries, cedar, cassis, sexy earth and gravels. First growth perfume but missing the fruit of 1996. Lots of wood smoke and toast offering on the mid-palate. Drinking very nicely today with 2 hours in the decanter. Developing slowly and still has many more decades to go. (94/100)
1998 Chateau Haut-Brion
The 1998 Haut Brion offers good value relative to other vintages and other First Growths. It is stepping into its drinking window and is offering charming fruits and lovely Pessac-Leognan nuances. Feminine bouquet of blackberry, mulberry, dark olives, gravel, gamy pencil lead, mild herbs and hints of jammy fruits. Charming and refined unlike the blockbuster 2000 Haut Brion, which is still at an infant stage and needs another 2 decades of ageing. Great density and length with suave finish. (93/100)
2000 Chateau Haut-Brion
The 2000 Haut Brion is going to be one of the great wines from this legendary vintage. Tasted single blind – Breathtaking aromas of Haut Brion gravel and exuberant red berries. Full phenolic ripeness, full-bodied, chubby creme de cassis and supple graphite and herbs. 2000 Haut Brion? Perfect balance of weight, fruit density, acidity and refined finish. (97/100)
The 2000 Haut Brion is still at a closed phase and is solemnly in for the long haul, this needs another 2 decades to reach to its peak if not longer. Tasted blind – A punch in your face type of wine, densely packed dark fruits with exuberant herbs and flowers. Top notch concentration with ultra-ripe cassis, exotic vanilla mocha and tobacco minerals. Tannic with rich new oak spices. Ripe chubby fruits, deep and sensual style behind the sheer layer of tannins. Gaja, single vineyard, 2005? (96+/100)
2013 Chateau Haut-Brion
The 2013 Chateau Haut-Brion performed well in this vintage. Great phenolic ripeness and medium bodied. Classic smoked gravel, cedar box and sweet tobacco of Haut-Brion. 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. It has a great depth and harmony. Fuller and more majestic than 2013 La Mission Haut-Brion, impressively fine tannins and attractive complexity. Low yield at 26hl/ha, only 5900 cases made in 2013. 65% new oak that doesn’t over-power the fruit balance. Lovely finesse and good length. (89/100)