2012 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Haut Brion (65% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc) is certainly one of the candidates for the wine of the vintage, with a dense purple color, classic nose of crushed rock, lead pencil shavings, black raspberry, blueberry and flowers. The wine shows subtle barbecue smoke notes in the background, but is full-bodied, stunningly concentrated and builds incrementally, yet finishes with luxurious, almost extravagant amounts of fruit and intensity. From only 46% of the production, this is an absolutely remarkable effort from the Dillon family and their winemaking team of the two Jean-Philippes. Drink it over the next 30-40 years. (RP)
Amazing aromas of wet stones, earth, currants and berries. Subtle and complex. Full body and a beautiful core of ripe fruit on the palate and the finish. Round, light, chewy tannins. Needs at least four or five years to open. This is the most Merlot ever in Haut-Brion. Rich too. One of the wines of the vintage. 65.5% Merlot, 32.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Cabernet Franc. Better in 2020.
*Cellar Selection* Firm and solid, this is one of the successes of 2012. It’s properly dark and tough at this stage, with that serious intent that’s a hallmark of Haut-Brion. Layers of firm tannins are interspersed with blackberry fruits and juicy acidity. The wine is dense and concentrated, with the wood aging still showing. This powerful wine will need many years. Drink from 2024.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Deep ruby-red. Compelling perfume of dark berries, red cherry, licorice, violet and bitter chocolate. Highly concentrated and penetrating, with superb sappiness to the rich flavors of raspberry, brown spices, cocoa powder and smoky black pepper. This big, rich wine displays outstanding spine and grip on the very long finish. Given the vintage's characteristics, greatly increasing the percentage of merlot was the right thing to do in 2012. 'It's a return to the Haut-Brion wines of the late '90s,' said Haut-Brion's owner, Prince Robert of Luxembourg, 'when perhaps we were getting a little carried away with merlot in our blend. But in 2012, we had no choice.' Haut-Brion is clearly the best of the Left Bank first growths in 2012. In fact, only Léoville-Las Cases can match it for sheer breed and class, but Haut-Brion is the more opulent of the two wines.
This combines power and refinement, with a singed alder frame around a dense core of red and black currant, plum and blackberry fruit. Notes of bay, black tea and tar line the finish. Has a lovely, fine-grained feel that lets the dark, hefty fruit drape beautifully. The tobacco element hangs in the background. Sneakily long. Best from 2018 through 2030.
Dense and dark. Rich and sumptuous. Some spiciness. Very broad and rich. Very grand. And easy to see where it comes from and how it will proceed. Very pure. Much more forward than La Mission. Zesty but with grandeur and great persistence. Drink 2022-2045. 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.