2009 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
Aromas of forest floor, currants and blueberries, with hints of fresh tobacco and sliced mushrooms. Turns to orange peel and blueberries. Full-bodied, with incredible structure. This is so powerful in tannins, yet so polished. This is the most structured Haut-Brion that I have ever tasted. This has 15% Cabernet Franc, which is more than normal and perhaps giving the wine a little more tannic structure. A monumental Haut-Brion made to age for centuries. I have never tasted a young Haut-Brion, with such spellbinding power and depth. A modern 1945 or 1961 HB? Better than the legendary 1989? Try in 2021.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
What a blockbuster effort! Atypically powerful, one day, the 2009 Haut-Brion may be considered to be the 21st century version of the 1959. It is an extraordinarily complex, concentrated effort made from a blend of 46% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Cabernet Franc with the highest alcohol ever achieved at this estate, 14.3%. Even richer than the perfect 1989, with similar technical numbers although slightly higher extract and alcohol, it offers up a sensational perfume of subtle burning embers, unsmoked cigar tobacco, charcoal, black raspberries, wet gravel, plums, figs and blueberries. There is so much going on in the aromatics that one almost hesitates to stop smelling it. However, when it hits the palate, it is hardly a letdown. This unctuously textured, full-bodied 2009 possesses low acidity along with stunning extract and remarkable clarity for a wine with a pH close to 4.0. The good news is that there are 10,500 cases of the 2009, one of the most compelling examples of Haut-Brion ever made. It requires a decade of cellaring and should last a half century or more. Readers who have loved the complexity of Haut-Brion should be prepared for a bigger, richer, more massive wine, but one that does not lose any of its prodigious aromatic attractions.
This enormous young wine is among the most backward of the vintage at this early stage, with iron-clad grip holding the broad, deep core of blackberry, cassis and roasted fig notes in check for now. The finish is a torrent of dense, almost compressed layers of tobacco leaf, hot paving stone, singed bay leaf and tar that will take at least a decade to massage together fully. This one is for the kids born in 2009. Best from 2020 through 2040.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Vivid deep ruby. Knockout fruity nose offers blackcurrant, strawberry, rosemary, truffle and a stony note. Then very closed in the middle, with cabernet sauvignon-dominated flavors of cassis, cigar box, cedar and minerals. Finishes long and deep, with massive but smooth tannins and a lingering note of violet. This will need plenty of time in the cellar but should be an outstanding, memorable Haut Brion. Offhand, I do not recall a better pair of wines from any estate in 2009: millionaires will have a lot of fun trying to choose between La Mission and Haut Brion in 20 years' time.
Solid, very structured, packed with dense and dry tannins. There is a core of acidity and darkness that gives the wine a brooding, powerful character. At this stage, it seems austere although it does have the weight of fruit typical of the year.
Very deep purple. Smoked meat on the nose. Then lots of almost brutal, but sweet fruit. Very intense and there is masses tucked in there. A very strong statement with lots of ripe fruit and masses of tannin. Needs lots of time. Less evolved than many other Haut-Brion vintages at this stage – unexpectedly. A most unusual wine! Finishes dry. Essence of Haut-Brion.
** 1/2 46% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cab Franc. Hard to taste on this windy day; they showed much better when tasted again on Friday. Violets on the nose and quite minerally. Elegant style, but seems tannic at back.