2014 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)
Barrel Sample. The wine is serious, darkly structured and firm in character, packed with tannins that lend a very dry feel. Fragrant fruitiness and intense acidity shine through for a very fine wine, likely to age over several decades.
Features a youthfully muscular edge, but remains elegant despite the heft, with a core of plum, red currant and raspberry fruit, guided by supple tannins and backed by subtle tobacco and spice hints. A light bay thread chimes in on the finish, while a juniper detail adds a pleasant underpinning. Displays admirable concentration, but this will need time to soak up its élevage, as it is always one of the more backward wines of the spring tastings. Tasted non-blind.
The 2014 Haut-Brion is one of the truly viscerally thrilling wines of the vintage. A host of smoke, graphite, licorice and black stone fruit notes hit the palate in a towering, majestic wine of the highest level. Opulent yet also massively tannic, with pulsating acidity in support, the 2014 is absolutely impeccable. Violets, lavender, smoke and savory herbs are some of the notes that add nuance as the wine builds to a rapturous, explosive finish. Readers fortunate enough to find the 2014 can look forward to several decades of pure drinking pleasure. The blend is 50% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Cabernet Franc. (AG)
Dense and tight now with blackberries, blueberries, iodine, minerals and currants. Full-bodied, firm and closed, yet there’s a persistence and length that is most impressive. Polished and very classy.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The Château Haut-Brion 2014 is a blend of 50% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 39% Cabernet Sauvignon picked between 11 September and 10 October cropped at 42.9 hectoliters per hectare raised in 70% new oak (Jean-Philippe Delmas has been lowering the new oak in recent vintages.) The fruit seems a little “redder” than La Mission at this stage with vibrant wild strawberry, blackcurrant and a pinch of dry tobacco, a hint of menthol developing with time in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, that tobacco element becoming a little stronger in the mouth, a little foursquare but like La Mission Haut-Brion, focusing upon precision rather than power. Of course, a superb contribution to the vintage, but I'd place my bets on the "Mish", at least on these barrel tastings. (NM)