2011 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan

SKU #1160094 96 points James Suckling

 Lots of subtle redcurrant and berry character, with flowers and sweet tobacco on the nose. Full body, super-integrated tannins and a light shaved-chocolate, berry and cedar character. A decadence and beauty to this that wakes you up. Better in 2018.  (1/2014)

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)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The unbelievably superb 2011 Haut-Brion (a tiny production of 7,600 cases from a blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 19% Cabernet Franc) exhibits a classic nose of subtle smoldering embers, warm rocks, black currants, new saddle leather, spice box and high quality, unsmoked cigar tobacco. The color is a dense ruby/purple to the edge, and the wine cuts a serious as well as broad swath across the palate. The most amazing aspect of this terroir is that the wine, despite all its power and richness, literally dances on the palate, as if it were a 90 pound ballerina. This brilliant 2011 should evolve quickly, hitting its prime in 7-8 years, and drink beautifully for 20-25 years. (RP)  (4/2014)

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 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Deep ruby. Complex, soil-driven aromas of redcurrant, dark cherry and raspberry are complicated by exotic notes of Oriental spices and soy sauce. Rich, tactile and sweet, offering intense, elegant dark fruit and spice flavors lifted by a saline nuance. Finishes with sweet tannins and lingering saline and smoky notes. This is deeper and fleshier than the La Mission. (ID)  (7/2014)

Decanter

 Deep velvety red, wild roses bouquet, taffeta smooth texture, great precision and clarity, restrained and aristocratic. Drink 2020-2040. 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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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 M├ędoc 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.