2010 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
As for the 2010 Haut-Brion, it does not have the power of Latour’s 2010 or the intense lead pencil shavings and chocolaty component of Lafite-Rothschild, but it is extraordinary, perfect wine. It has a slightly lower pH than the 2009 (3.7 versus the 2009's 3.8), and even higher alcohol than the 2009 (14.6%). The wine is ethereal. From its dense purple color to its incredibly subtle but striking aromatics that build incrementally, offering up a spectacular smorgasbord of aromas ranging from charcoal and camphor to black currant and blueberry liqueur and spring flowers, this wine’s finesse, elegant yet noble power and authority come through in a compelling fashion. It is full-bodied, but that’s only apparent in the aftertaste, as the wine seems to float across the palate with remarkable sweetness, harmony, and the integration of all its component parts – alcohol, tannin, acidity, wood, etc. This prodigious Haut-Brion is hard to compare to another vintage, at least right now, but it should have 50 to 75 years of aging potential. Anticipated maturity: 2022-2065+. Kudos to the team at Haut-Brion and to the proprietors, the Dillon family, who are now represented admirably and meticulously by Prince Robert of Luxembourg. He has made some changes, and all of them seem to have resulted in dramatic improvements to what was already an astonishing group of wines.
*Collectibles* Sappy, tongue-coating pastis, blackberry coulis and loganberry fruit starts this huge wine off, followed by a parade of licorice snap, violet, tar, black tea, roasted alder, wood spice and steeped black cherry fruit notes. A beam of pure cassis drives through this version, and the finish pulls everything together with a mouthwatering brambly edge that should soften slowly over time. A riveting display of brawny power, unbridled energy and high-level terroir. Best from 2020 through 2040.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Good full ruby-red. Complex, expressive, very showy aromas and flavors of cassis, menthol, smoke and tobacco complemented by violet, milk chocolate and sweet spices. Fat, sweet and concentrated in the mouth, with an almost liqueur-like ripeness to its highly concentrated, palate-saturating flavors. Finishes ripe and savory, with huge but plush tannins and lingering notes of blueberry and minerals. 98(+?) points.
*Cellar Selection* A firm and serious wine, complex and complicated, one of the finest wines from 2010 vintage. It has a rich undertow of black fruits, while the tannins dominate at this stage. To add to the powerful range of flavors, the wine has an edge of severity that bodes well for its long-term future.
This is very spicy with dried mushroom aromas with dark fruits and plum undertones. Sweet tobacco as well. This is full-bodied, with lots of tannins that are chewy and firm. This is muscular for HB and flexing it. Try in 2020.
23% Merlot, 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc. 7,800 cases, not 10,000+ as in 2009. 42% grand vin (compared with 57% in 2009). Full, opulent nose in which the classic Haut-Brion aroma is well masked by lots of slightly austere fruit. Very fine tannins -- very drying finish. An extremely slow burner. Much drier than La Mission, and at the moment not desperately expressive. Its lips are pursed at the moment, and so are mine tasting it. Unusual to come across such a long-term wine even here. This may not make a massive impact en primeur because it is keeping so much in reserve. I think it will eventually make a great wine but it's surly at the moment. 18++/20 points.
Chateau Haut Brion is one of the 5 First Growth wines of Bordeaux, and the only one from Graves. Located on two hillocks gravel over clay and sand in Pessac for a classic Graves terroir. It consists of 51 hectares of mostly red varietals (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot). It is the oldest wine estate in Bordeaux and was even served to Charles II! The estate is now owned and lovingly managed by the Dillon family - the royal family of Luxembourg.