2005 1er Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Village Pessac-Léognan
Classification 1er Cru Classé

56% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc. After the La Mission this has an almost floral nose - damask rose. Showing a bit of oak. Starts big and builds on the palate. Very concentrated. Massive and very pure. Fresh and still not very open, but unbelivably impressive. Seems likely to be a wait of at least 20 years. Rating: 98+ L&S (Apr 2006)

*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.

Saturated ruby-red. Knockout nose combines black raspberry, smoked meat, hot rocks and scorched earth. Plush, broad and deep but classically dry and minerally, even a bit brooding today. But the texture is wonderfully creamy and seamless, and the powerful, slowly mounting flavors spread out to saturate the entire palate. A great wine in the making. (May/June 2007) Rating: 95-97 Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (May 2007)

Deep purple hue. Opaque. A very complex, intense nose of ripe black fruits and minerals. Superb delineation. Like La Mission, it need vigorous aeration to reveal the layers of complexity. Again a little liquorice developing and cedar. Very smooth entry, harmonious on the palate. Exquisite balance yet it is undoubtedly one of the most intense and focused Haut-Brion's in recent years. Pure blackberry and minerals on the finish with an extremely long finish. Magnificent. Rating: 25/25 Neal Martin, (May 2006)

(56% merlot, 39% cabernet sauvignon and 5% cabernet franc) Deep, bright ruby. Wonderfully expressive nose offers black raspberry, minerals, flint, licorice, hot rocks, toffee and spices. Lush and dense in the mouth, with great flesh and sweetness. This coats every millimeter of the mouth, and yet an underlying minerality gives precision to the flavors. Offers a compellingly tactile quality and a rare combination of power, opulence and freshness. Finishes with huge but very broad and lush tannins. The 2005 Haut-Brion is a monument in the making. Rating: 95-98 Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (May 2006)

Château Haut Brion

1855 classification - Premier Grand Cru Classé Château Haut Brion is famously the only estate in Graves to have featured in the 1855 classification reflecting a long established reputation, even if, at the time, the crown was beginning to slip. During the 16th Century, Haut-Brion was briefly owned by Jean de Ségur of the Ségur family who at various times owned both Lafite and Latour. Jean de Pontac inherited Haut Brion as a wedding dowry in 1525 and, apart from a brief period during the French Revolution, his descendents owned the estate until 1801. The Pontacs were an interesting lot, including in their number a very pious Bishop, a politician, and François-Auguste Pontac who started a London inn called l'Enseigne de Pontac where Samuel Pepys enjoyed "a sort of French wine called Ho Bryan", finding it "hath a good and most particular taste". Jonathon Swift, however, thought the wine "dear at seven shillings a flagon" - 35p a bottle, if only! Haut Brion was the first Bordeaux wine known to have been imported into the USA when Thomas Jefferson had six cases shipped home to Virginia. Eventually, in the earlier years of the 19th Century, Haut Brion found its way into the hands of the Larrieu family. Preceding reputation was enough to get Haut Brion classified as a Premier Grand Cru Classé in 1855, and a string of copy cat estates appended "Haut Brion" to their names (a source of some litigation in the 1920's) but in reality the 19th and early 20th Centuries were not great times for the wines of Haut Brion. When the bank seized the assets of Milleret Larrieu after WWI, the estate fell into the hands of the Société des Glacières under who's unenlightened guidance much of the gardens were sold off the make way for expanding city of Bordeaux. They then offered Château Haut Brion to the City of Bordeaux, who turned it down, allowing American financier Clarence Dillon to realise his dream of owning a Bordeaux château, buying the estate in 1935. His descendents own Haut Brion to this day. The gravel soils of Haut Brion are planted with 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc for reds, and a more or less 50/50 split of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon for the whites. There are around 45ha under vine. Haut Brion were one of the first estates to ferment in stainless steel. After fermentation, red wines spend up to two years in oak, previoulsy 100% new for the grand vin but, now, more like 35%. The second wine of the estate was known for many years as Bahans Haut Brion, but was renamed recently as Le Clarence de Haut Brion in honour of Clarence Dillon.

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