1996 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan

SKU #110438 94 points John Gilman

 The 1996 Haut Brion is less hermetically sealed than the 1998, and is beginning to hint a bit at its secondary layers of aromatic complexity, though it still remains a very young wine. The bouquet is deep and classic, as it jumps from the glass in a mélange of black cherries, dark berries, Cuban tobacco, incipient notes of the black truffles to come, and a fine base of Graves earth. I assume that the 1996 saw the same amount of new oak as the 1998, but there is little sign of the wood at the present time. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, deep and very intense, with a quite powerful profile for Haut Brion. The wine is rock solid at the core and very tannic, though the tannins are ripe and well-integrated into the wine. The finish is very, very long and soil-driven, and this will clearly be one of the most powerful vintages of Haut Brion to emerge since the 1959. It will be superb, but one will require plenty of patience. Drink between 2025-2075.  (6/2007)

93 points Wine Spectator

 Gorgeous aromas of crushed berries, cigar box, black licorice and tanned leather. Full-bodied, with fine silky tannins and a medium to long finish. Seems a little tight right now. But refined and pretty. Nice for the vintage. (JS, Web Only—2007)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 It will be a potentially long-lived wine. The 1996 exhibits a deep ruby/purple color, and a surprisingly tight bouquet. With aeration, notes of fresh tobacco, dried herbs, smoke, asphalt, and black fruits emerge. It is tannic and medium-bodied, with outstanding purity and a layered, multidimensional style. However, the finish contains abundant tannin, suggesting that this wine needs 5-8 years of cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2030. (RP)  (4/1999)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Full ruby-red. Initially mute nose opened slowly to reveal complex aromas of raspberry, plum, hot stones, tobacco, saddle leather and toffee. Really explodes on the palate; lush and minerally, with a compelling note of woodsmoke and firm acidity. Wonderful combination of sweetness and vibrancy. Finishes very long and subtle, with firm tannins. (ST)  (6/1999)

91 points James Suckling

 Impressive nose of sweet tobacco with hints of prunes and black cherries. The palate is velvety, but it’s a little dull on the finish. Opens a little as the wine is in the glass. Served from imperial bottle.  (1/2011)

Jancis Robinson

 50% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon. Looks more evolved than the Bahans. Wonderfully round and developed and subtle. More subtle than La Mission with a drier finish. Chewy end still there - and in with a fight. This does not seem to have fully unfurled yet and should make a great wine eventually. Putty and minerals. Still quite tight! 18.5/20 points. (JR)  (2/2011)

K&L Notes

Chateau Haut Brion is one of the five First Growth wines of Bordeaux, and the only one from Graves. Located on two hillocks, with 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. Wine Advocate's Neal Martin liked the 1996 even better in 2013: "Tasted at Bordeaux Index lunch. The Haut Brion 1996 continues to shine as one of the estate's standout releases of the decade. There is something perhaps a little rustic on the nose at first, more 'animally' than I have noticed on previous bottles. But it just oozes Graves-like fruit, hints of black olive, scorched earth and undergrowth. This is a nose you can lose yourself in. The palate is medium-bodied with a fine line of acidity, the tannins having just softened a little since two years ago. It is very elegant, extremely well balanced and there is a subtle, insistent crescendo that is utterly entrancing. This is an Haut Brion that is simply full of character. Superb. Drink 2015-2025. Tasted December 2013." (Wine Journal, 5/2014)


Share |
Price: $599.99

Real Time Inventory by location:

The item you have chosen is in stock, and has inventory in our warehouse and one or more stores. Below is the current quantity on hand information for this product within our database. It is never more than five minutes old. Additionally, our shopping cart looks at real time inventory so when you add an item to you cart we will do an immediate check of available inventory and alert you if there are any issues.

Location Qty
Main Warehouse: 3
Redwood City: 3
San Francisco: 4
Product turnaround time varies by location of inventory and your chosen method of shipping/pickup. For a detailed explanation click here.

Additional Information:

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 Médoc 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.
Sub-Region:

Bordeaux

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.