The 2005 Haut-Brion is another wine that has put on weight over the last year. While I still believe the 1989 is the great classic, it is difficult not to admire the architectural structure and seriousness of this extraordinarily elegant effort. A blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon (which came in around 14% natural alcohol), 39% Merlot (over 13% natural alcohol), and 5% Cabernet Franc, only 9,000 cases were produced in this vintage, significantly less than in other great years such as 2000 or 1998. It appears to be a big, bulked-up version of the 1996 or 1995. While almost primordial in its denseness, richness, and body, it retains its elegance and surreal nose of flowers, cherries, pain grille, crushed rocks, flowers, and ripe fruit. Powerful, dense, and in need of a decade of cellaring, this will be a 30 to 40-year Haut-Brion that should end up being a modern day version of the 1955. Although closed at present, it is enormously impressive, and is a treat to taste next to the more flamboyant La Mission Haut-Brion. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2040+. RP
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