2012 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)

SKU #1128671 98 points 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)  (4/2015)

96 points James Suckling

 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.  (2/2015)

96 points Wine Enthusiast

 *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.  (5/2015)

92-95 points 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.  (6/2013)

95 points Wine Spectator

 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.  (1/2015)

Jancis Robinson

 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.  (4/2013)

K&L Notes

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.

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By: Ralph Sands | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/3/2013 | Send Email
** Established in 1525! The 64% Merlot in the blend pretty much tells the story of 2012. They started to pick the Merlot on Sept 17th and in good conditions. This wine is so delicious, rich but not heavy and seriously grapey. This wine is perfectly extracted with a lovely long finish. I love it.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

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.
Country:

France

- 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.
Sub-Region:

Bordeaux

- View our bestselling Bordeaux.
Specific Appellation:

Pessac-Leognan/Graves

- 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.