2011 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (1.5L) (Pre-Arrival)
An impressively silky wine. Dry yet intensely fruity, the palate shows big fruit, smooth tannins and a perfumed character.
Manages to harness the angularity of the vintage extremely well, almost burying the acidity in the core of cassis, black cherry skin, plum pit and maduro tobacco flavors. This is typically among the most backward wines of the vintage when young, and it's still tight and primal, but with admirable length and density already. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Tasted non-blind.
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.
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.
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.
** 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. Trey: 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.