2011 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)

SKU #1090921 94-96 points Wine Enthusiast

 An impressively silky wine. Dry yet intensely fruity, the palate shows big fruit, smooth tannins and a perfumed character.  (4/ 2012)

94-95 points James Suckling

 Complex aromas of brown sugar, sweet tobacco and dark fruits. Turns to hints of prunes and cocoa. Full-bodied, with ultra fine tannins and a wonderful length. Refined and silky. Beautiful balance. Such wonderful length. Turns chewy yet very polished.  (4/ 2012)

92-95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Like its stablemate La Mission-Haut-Brion, Haut-Brion’s 2011 production was small, only 7,600 cases, which is nearly 3,000 fewer cases than in 2009. A blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 19% Cabernet Franc, it is interesting to taste the 2011 Haut-Brion next to the more open-knit, seductive 2011 La Mission Haut-Brion. The former wine is more firm, backward and earthy with a more formidably structured style. Undeniably elegant, distinctive and original, it exhibits notes of mulberries, plums, blueberries and raspberries. Jean-Philippe Delmas told me that in many ways the 2011 reminds him of the 2008 from an aromatic and structural profile. There is plenty of tannin, and the 2011 has 25-30 years of aging potential. It may be more reminiscent of a vintage such as 1988, but it is better made as well as being the product of a far stricter selection process.  (4/ 2012)

95 points Wine Spectator

 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.  (3/ 2014)

92-94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (46% cabernet sauvignon, 35% merlot and 19% cabernet franc blend; 3.61 pH): 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.  (5/ 2012)

Jancis Robinson

 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.  (4/ 2012)

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: Trey Beffa |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 5/17/2012  | Send Email
Compact. This wine’s tight palate is dense and concentrated, with a sweet core of black cherry and black berry fruit, lots of structure and power. Very dense, but the tannins are integrated and fleshy. 92-94 points.

By: Clyde Beffa Jr. |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 5/17/2012  | Send Email
** 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc. A more feminine style than La Mission. Focused, with red currant and chocolate flavors. Long and lingering on the palate. Minerals abound.

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

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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.