1995 Haut-Brion, Pessac Léognan
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
It is fun to go back and forth between the 1995 and 1996, two superb vintages for Haut-Brion. The 1995 seems to have sweeter tannin and a bit more fat and seamlessness when compared to the more structured and muscular 1996. Certainly 1995 was a vintage that the brilliant administrator Jean Delmas handled flawlessly. The result is a deep ruby/purple-colored wine with a tight but promising nose of burning wood embers intermixed with vanilla, spice box, earth, mineral, sweet cherry, black currant, plum-like fruit, medium to full body, a high level of ripe but sweet tannin, and a finish that goes on for a good 40-45 seconds.
Sweet tobacco, blackberries and violets on the nose. Subtle. Full-bodied and very tight, with fantastic tannins and a long caressing finish. Wonderful texture. All in reserve still. Give this time. (2007)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Very good deep red-ruby. Sweet, highly expressive aromas of redcurrant, hot stones, roasted plum, woodsmoke and tobacco. Fuller and more textured in the middle palate, with a chewy, tactile mouth feel that suggests strong extract and a wonderfully pliant texture. A firm mineral underpinning and sound acids frame the fruit. Expansive and seductively sweet in the mouth. Finishes very long and ripe, with thoroughly civilized tannins.
Just lovely wine, and the only one that was not dominated by a single variety, being a Cabernet/Merlot blend. Excellent lustrous, nuanced ruby.. Clearly a very fine mature wine. Strong liquorice notes (Haut-Brion 'warm bricks' earthiness?) For a second I wondered if it was a 1998 Hermitage. Very complex. Spread across the palate. My guess is that no one dared guess it was a first growth but we were looking for appreciation in the comments box...Drink 2007-2030. (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 of gravel over clay and sand in Pessac--classic Graves terroir--it consists of 51 hectares of mostly red varietals (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot). Haut-Brion is the oldest wine estate in Bordeaux; its wines were served to Charles II of England in the 1600s! The estate is now owned and lovingly managed by the Dillon family, the royal family of Luxembourg.