2011 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)
Lots of subtle redcurrant and berry character, with flowers and sweet tobacco on the nose. Full body, super-integrated tannins and a light shaved-chocolate, berry and cedar character. A decadence and beauty to this that wakes you up. Better in 2018.
An impressively silky wine. Dry yet intensely fruity, the palate shows big fruit, smooth tannins and a perfumed character.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The unbelievably superb 2011 Haut-Brion (a tiny production of 7,600 cases from a blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 19% Cabernet Franc) exhibits a classic nose of subtle smoldering embers, warm rocks, black currants, new saddle leather, spice box and high quality, unsmoked cigar tobacco. The color is a dense ruby/purple to the edge, and the wine cuts a serious as well as broad swath across the palate. The most amazing aspect of this terroir is that the wine, despite all its power and richness, literally dances on the palate, as if it were a 90 pound ballerina. This brilliant 2011 should evolve quickly, hitting its prime in 7-8 years, and drink beautifully for 20-25 years. (RP)
This packs some serious density for the vintage, with layers of braised fig, blackberry pâte de fruit and dark currant paste, all inlaid with lively briar, tobacco leaf and roasted apple wood notes. Shows lots of energy through the finish, with the grip generating a mouthwatering feel. One of the stars of the vintage. Best from 2018 through 2035.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Dark ruby-red. Big, rich and creamy on entry, then tighter and a bit austere in the middle, showing pure cassis, red berry and mineral flavors that carry through nicely on the rising finish. Very fine-grained Haut-Brion with a lingering cocoa nuance. Technical director Masclef noted that the team did shorter cuvaisons of about 15 days, vs. a typical 21, and at slightly lower temperatures too. I think the high-quality cabernet franc here has helped this wine gain a measure of refinement that is not always there in vintages with higher proportions of merlot. Another potentially great Haut Brion, more austere and less fleshy than recent efforts but very classic.
Deep black cherry colour. Warm sweet cherry fruit, with the most chocolate-smooth (and in no way thick) tannins but also the acidity of fresh fruit too, fresh cherry. Very fine, intense and aromatic red fruit with just a touch of graphite. There's density and richness on the middle but such amazing softness though the tannins give tension underneath like closely packed bed springs. Like falling into a deep feather cover on a firm bed. So long. 18.5/20 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.