2013 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)

SKU #1158981 91-94 points Vinous

 Smoke, tobacco, incense and game meld into a core of black stone fruits as the 2013 Haut-Brion shows off its personality. Like most of the reds in this range, the 2013 really needs time in the glass to blossom. Violets, lavender and melted road tar develop over time in a striking, vivid wine endowed with class as well as considerable potential. Haut-Brion is one of the more overtly muscular, broad-shouldered wines of the year. It will be interesting to see what time in barrel brings, but there is a lot to look forward to. The 2013 is 50% Merlot, 45.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4.5% Cabernet Franc.  (4/2014)

91-94 points Wine Spectator

 This has weight and density, with dark plum, raspberry coulis and red currant fruit showing well already, lined with obvious but racy and integrated tannins. The finish is long and tinged with violet, tobacco and star anise notes, with lovely energy. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Tasted non-blind.  (4/2014)

92-93 points James Suckling

 This has one of the best finishes of all reds in Bordeaux in 2013. Full and balanced with medium density in the mid-palate but it lasts for minutes on the finish. Tobacco, currant and spice character. Only 13.1% alcohol.  (4/2014)

90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Its bigger sibling, the 2013 Haut-Brion, is a blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. This classic effort tastes like a Haut-Brion, a major accomplishment in this vintage. Slightly fuller, richer and more complete than its nearby rival, La Mission Haut-Brion, it exhibits a deep ruby/purple color as well as hints of scorched earth, barbecue, charcoal, red and black currant, Asian plum sauce and spice notes. Fine-grained tannins are present, but well-integrated, and the acidity is not excessive. The result is a relatively plush, mid-weight, stylish, potentially complex Haut-Brion to drink over the next 15+ years.  (8/2014)

88-91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (50% merlot, 45.5% cabernet sauvignon and 4.5% cabernet franc; 26 h/h): Dark ruby. Deep, spicy aromas of blackcurrant, aromatic herbs and mint. On the palate, big, deep flavors of red berries and spicy blueberries are accented by sandalwood and aromatic herbs. Mounting tannins coat the palate dry, with the finish featuring underbrush, ink and licorice. This will need plenty of time to resolve its oak tannins. In fact, general director Jean-Philippe Delmas told me he plans to use only 65% new oak (usually 75%) in order to preserve the fruit. One of the toughest and least opulent Haut-Brion in years but it's very faithful to the vintage--which some impenetrably black and almost viscous 2013 wines are not.  (6/2014)

K&L Notes

***½ Château Haut-Brion is one of the five 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 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.

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Staff Image By: Alex Pross | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/14/2014 | Send Email
***½ Deep, dark and brooding, with hints of scorched earth and minerality. Lots of depth here. The wine is packed with dark fruits and spice. Tasting it now feels like you're just scratching the surface of this immense wine.

Additional Information:


Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.


- View our bestselling Bordeaux.
Specific Appellation:


- Graves is the large red and white wine region located to the southeast of the city of Bordeaux along the Garonne River. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the red wines from the area, while the whites are mixtures of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The most important area within the Graves is the village of Pessac-Leognan. Most of the great chateaux, including Haut Brion, a premier cru and the only wine outside of the Medoc to be included in the 1855 Classification, are located in this small appellation. Graves derives its name from the rocky, stony terrain of the region. Many people believe that the stony soil radiates the day's heat at night and thus makes the grapes ripen earlier than the other regions in Bordeaux.