2003 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
An intense, opulent nose with notes of ripe fruits and meat. An exotic and decadent wine, it boasts a full body, with big velvety tannins and loads of complexity. Layers and layers of flavors. Let this sit until 2015.
Complex aromas of black licorice, tobacco and cedar with red fruits. Full-bodied, with superseductive, silky tannins, loads of fruit and a finish that lasts for minutes. A beauty in all the sense of the word. Best after 2012. (JS)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Even better, and clearly the best wine made in the Haut-Brion stable in 2003 (the last vintage of the great Jean-Bernard Delmas as administrator), the 2003 Haut-Brion is a blend of 58% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Cabernet Franc that hit 13% natural alcohol, which seemed high at the time, but given more recent vintages is modest. Dark ruby/plum in color, with no amber or orange at the edge, the wine exhibits an abundance of roasted herbs, hot rocks, black currants, plum, and balsamic notes. Quite rich, medium to full-bodied and more complete, with sweeter tannins than La Mission Haut-Brion, this full-bodied Haut-Brion has hit full maturity, where it should stay for at least a decade. Bravo! (RP)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Deep ruby-red. The freshest on the nose of the 2003s at this address, offering slightly high-toned smoky raspberry, minerals and graphite and a suggestion of medicinal austerity. Offers great breadth and early charm, but also possesses very firm underlying structure. Finishes with big, ripe tannins and outstanding grip and length.
Wine & Spirits
This has the deep stoniness of Haut-Brion, but it's hard to recognize through all the sweet fruit. Initially, that sweet ripeness puts it in line with Napa Valley Cabernets, tasting sleek, firm and intense. The tannins become more prominent with air, making the wine feel huge and muscular, gripping all the flavor and closing it down. Rather than freshness, this offers robust mineral flavor and strength of tannin to carry it into maturity.
Dark ruby. Opulent and sweet with some real depth of flavour. The slightly burnt note was more indicative of Haut-Brion's 'warm bricks' character than sunburnt grapes. Long, rich and quite satisfying. Lively and very fresh with a cool, dry finish. Not remotely like the stereotype of an overripe 2003. Neat and dry on the end. 18/20 points. Drink 2011-2023.
Chateau Haut Brion is one of the five First Growth wines of Bordeaux, and the only one in Graves. Located on two hillocks gravel over clay and sand in Pessac, it's classic Graves terroir, consisting of 51 hectares of mostly red varietals (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot). It is the oldest wine estate in Bordeaux and the wine was even served to Charles II! The estate is now owned and lovingly managed by the Dillon family, the royal family of Luxembourg.