Chateau Haut-Brion has one of the longest and most interesting histories of any Bordeaux vineyard. The property derives its name from an ancient Celtic term “Briga.” Loosely translated, this means a rise or mound in the land. This unique terroir was first prized for growing grapes to produce Bordeaux wine close to 600 years ago!
In 1961, Haut-Brion was the first of the great growths to use stainless steel fermentation vats, and continues to be in the forefront of innovation thanks to the meticulous selection of the ideal clones for each grape variety used at the estate. Through the centuries, the owners and managers of Haut-Brion have been obsessed with perpetuating the château’s reputation for quality.
Classified a First Growth in 1855, Haut-Brion has done everything possible ever since then to maintain its standing. It deserves credit for being first in many things we take for granted today. For example, Chateau Haut Brion was the first Bordeaux chateau to produce truly age worthy wine. They did this by introducing longer periods of aging in barrel, as well as being the first winery to continuously add wine to top off the barrels.
Most common varietal blend of Chateau Haut Brion:
- 48.7% Merlot
- 39.6% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 10.7% Cabernet Franc
- 1% Petit Verdot
2.9 hectares of vines have been reserved for the planting of white Bordeaux wine varietals. Although there is a small quantity of Sauvignon Gris planted in the vineyard as well. This shows a marked increase in the amount of Sauvignon Blanc in the vineyard. For the white wine grapes of Haut Brion, the vines are planted in a terroir that is gravel over clay soils.
Best served with rich and heavy steaks, grilled and roast lamb, aged Parmesan.
Fermentation of the red wines takes place in stainless steel vats, after which the wine will spend 22 months, sometimes more, in new oak barrels before being bottled unfiltered. For the white wine fermentation takes place in new oak barrels, after which the wine spends a further year to 15 months on its lees in barrel before bottling. The white wine is truly sensational, equivalent in class to a top-flight White Burgundy Grand Cru, but its scarcity means that it is rarely seen.
The red wine is no less extraordinary; at its best it displays text-book Graves characteristics of cigar-box, curranty fruit, earth, smoky spice and cassis. The high Merlot content, compared to the Médoc First Growths, gives it a voluptuous edge, but does not in any way detract from its ability to age.
The perfume is limestone, quartz and shale crushed into gravel and harboring a basin of fresh sliced lemons. Full-bodied, garden-fresh and so deep you could have an existential crisis. This wine is concentrated, long, bright and focused on sweet, ripe, yellow citrus fruits. You will feel the finish of this sunny wine for nearly a minute.
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