2014 Clarte de Haut-Brion Blanc, Pessac-Léognan

SKU #1268915 95-96 points James Suckling

 Shows excellent depth and richness with sliced apple, apricot and pineapple character. Big and rich. Excellent. This is pretty amazing. 66% Sauvignon Blanc and 33% Sémillon.  (3/2015)

90-93 points Wine Spectator

 The quinine, lemon chiffon and white asparagus notes are gliding together already, with a warm macadamia nut accent adding texture and weight to the finish. Still a little youthfully raw at the very end, but shows lovely concentration and length. Tasted non-blind. (JM)  (3/2015)

90-92 points Vinous

 The 2014 Le Clarte de Haut-Brion is unusually dense in this vintage, the result of a brief heat wave in July that concentrated the Sauvignon Blanc. The flavors are bright and nicely focused, but the 2014 is marked be a real sense of phenolic weight and intensity. Mint, white flowers, sage and lime add the final shades of dimension. The blend is 66% Sauvignon and 34% Sémillon. (AG)  (4/2015)

90-92 points Wine Enthusiast

 Barrel Sample. This fruity wine is driven by lemon and orange zest notes on the nose and palate. It is so fresh, crisp and tightly wrought, with beautiful acidity and a crisp. lively finish. (RV)  (3/2015)

90 points Decanter

 66% Sauvignon Blanc, 34% Semillon (the high malic acids with Sauvignon this year meant that they chose to put more in the second rather than first wine). This is definitely high in Sauvignon character, get the more grassy edges of Sauvignon, its wild pyrazine character. Lovely persistency, and in fact some subtle stone fruits to slide into during the mid palate. This holds back for a beat on the first attack then gives plenty of enjoyment. Some juicy freshness in the finish, definitely one for lovers of a classic fresh style, but still with structure. (JA)  (4/2015)

Jancis Robinson

 This always smells so Sémillon! Luxurious beeswax nose and then tight grapefruit-peel palate that is dominated by Sauvignon. Long and thrilling with great weight and tension. Lightly astringent at the moment. Very nervy despite such high alcohol that Jean-Philippe Delmas called it ‘our Condrieu’.  (3/2015)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The La Clarté de Haut-Brion 2014 is a blend of 66% Sauvignon Blanc and 34% Sémillon, Jean-Philippe Delmas mentioning that he blended more of the former, two weeks prior to my visit. It has a straightforward bouquet with crisp grapefruit and melon scents, the Sauvignon Blanc more expressive at the moment. The palate is sharp and citric on the entry with a keen line of acidity, touches of pear coming through toward the finish. Fine. (NM)  (4/2015)

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Sauvignon Blanc

- One of the best known "international" varieties originally cultivated in France and considered the parent of, with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon. Sauvignon's wonderfully distinctive aromatics generate some of wine's most colorful descriptors, among them "cat pee," herbaceous, grassy, citrusy the world over. In France, the apex of Sauvignon Blanc production is the Loire Valley, in the appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, where the terroir expresses itself most beautifully through the grape. Sauvignon Blanc is also the leading white grape varietal in Bordeaux, where it is paired with the fatter, richer Sémillon to varying degrees. Relatively easy to cultivate, though more suited to cool climates, Sauvignon Blanc has made inroads in Europe outside of France, especially in Northeastern Italy's Friuli and Alto Adige, but also on the Slovenian border. These lovely wines are often overshadowed by Sauvignon Blanc's achievements in the New World, namely New Zealand, South Africa and California. New Zealand's Sauvignon Blancs, more conspicuously fruity than most French examples, landed the small island nation on the world wine map in the late-1980s and 1990s. South African Sauvignons are one of the most successful international varieties produced in that country and are often quite elegant and affordable. In California, Robert Mondavi managed to, almost single-handedly, created a market for Sauvignon Blanc by renaming his oak-fermented version Fumé Blanc. While some wineries still use the name, California Sauvignon Blanc has secured its place in the California wine pantheon, particularly those from the Napa Valley. Washington State, Chile and Argentina also have considerable plantings of the grape.


- 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.


Specific Appellation:


- 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.