CHÂTEAU HAUT BRION BLANC

2020 Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

EN PRIMEUR

The 2020 Haut-Brion Blanc is a wine of extraordinary precision and nuance. White flowers, mint, chalk, white pepper and citrus peel soar out of the glass. Weightless and nuanced, Haut-Brion Blanc is so striking. I especially admire its delineation and cut. Drinking range: 2025 - 2050 Rating: 94-96 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Jun 2021)

In Bond

75cl bottles (wood case of 6)

* This is a pre-shipment/primeur offer. All orders are accepted under the TERMS of this offer which differ from the terms of the rest of the site.

The 2020 Haut-Brion Blanc, which was picked August 20–27, has a tightly wound bouquet that requires 30–40 minutes to open, revealing well-defined aromas of green apples and Conference pear, light minty scents and hints of persimmon. The palate is taut and fresh with a little more depth than the La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc this year, though the major difference is that I find more mineralité and tension on the finish, hence my higher score. Excellent. Drinking range: 2025 - 2055 Rating: 94-96 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2021)

Grippy fresh, green-tinged flavours, a little more evident than in the Mission Haut-Brion Blanc, here you get more angular acidities, and yet it works. Sauvignon-dominant flavours and aromatics of rosemary, mint, turmeric, lime blossom and steely citrus. Excellent persistency and a deliciously mouthwatering finish. Harvest from 20th to 27th August. Drinking range: 2022 - 2034 Rating: 96 Jane Anson, Decanter (May 2021)

71.4% Sauvignon Blanc, 28.6% Sémillon. Cask sample taken 12 April. Picked from 20 to 27 August. Estimated alcohol 13.9%. Very pale greenish straw. Far from the most opulent Haut-Brion Blanc, this is playing the fresh and subtle card, with just a hint of sweet smokiness, Perhaps the team was keen to hang on to such acidity as was available after the hot, dry summer since it seems pretty soft? Decidedly reticent at the moment. It's always so difficult to give a drinking date for Haut-Brion Blanc since it seems to go into a funk at about four years. But it has so many waxy layers even at this early stage … it may well blossom into something truly remarkable but for the moment its stablemate La Mission Blanc seems to have much more vitality. Drinking range: 2023 - 2035 Rating: 16.5++ Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2021)

This is yet another epic performance from Haut-Brion Blanc and the flesh and depth here is astounding. It is held firmly in place by a bodice of the finest quality oak and yet I can see the silkiness and succulence of the fruit through this diaphanous outer layer and it is ravishing. There is no white wine in the world like Haut-Brion Blanc and the gravitas and tension here is heart-stopping. The length rolls on for minutes while the citrus, ozone, herb, lanolin and white stone fruit details eddy and flow across the palate. For the briefest of moments it flashes some of its remarkable flesh and then as quickly as a seductive nuance is met, it disappears behind a mineral-soaked layer of impenetrable calm. Sheer heaven from start to finish, I adore this vintage and it is likely to be the longest-lived dry white wine of 2020. Rating: 19.5+/20 Matthew Jukes www.matthewjukes.com (Apr 2021)

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.

Please make sure that you have read the terms of this offer which are different from those on the main website. If you are unclear as to what is involved in primeur purchases please do contact our private client team via email or on 0207 221 1982.

Ordering

Prices are all in bond by the case size stated.

Pre-Orders are a firm commitment to buy wines on release, as long as the release price sits within the upper and lower price bands set by you on the pre-order form. Pre-orders will be fulfilled subject to availability but providing this firm commitment to buy effectively gives you priority and is a good idea for the most desirable wines.

Wines listed on the website can be ordered in the usual way via the website wishlist order form. You can also send orders directly to our private client team via email. Please note that, for the most sought after wines, priority will be given to those who ordered the same wines last year and to those that have pre-ordered.

Confirmation

All orders will be confirmed by email and are binding unless written cancellation is received within seven days of email confirmation. Pre-orders are not binding if the release price is above your upper price band.

Invoices are all raised at the in bond price (excluding any duty and VAT) which will become payable at the prevailing rates when the wines arrive in the UK, should you wish to take duty paid delivery.

Payment is required on sight of invoice, by cash, cheque, debit card or bank transfer. We regret we cannot accept credit cards for en primeur orders. We reserve the right to apply a dunning charge of 2% per month on invoices unpaid after 30 days.

Delivery

  • Shipment to our bond (at LCB Creek Road) and insurance are included in the in bond price.
  • Delivery is free to Lea and Sandeman / Elephant storage accounts, both duty paid and in bond.
  • Other deliveries (In Bond and Duty Paid) are also free subject to a minimum order from the offer of £500. Orders below this total will be charged an administration and handling fee of £16.50+ VAT when invoices are issued. We will group deliveries and this is a charge for your entire purchases, not a per-case charge.
  • Delivery of 2020 Bordeaux bought en primeur is expected during 2023. Delivery dates may vary as wines are shipped from Bordeaux at different times.
  • We do not anticipate any problems but please be aware that delays to delivery may occur should Britain's possible departure from the European Union result in additional border customs checks or other regulatory requirements. Any additional or unforeseen duties, tariffs, charges or other financial liabilities relating to 'Brexit' must be due to the customer and will be invoiced as required.

Practical notes - how it works

We start a sale in each customer's name and add all their primeur orders to one sale which is invoiced at the end of the campaign (or when the customer wishes). Immediate payment of invoices is then required by cash, cheque, debit card or bank transfer. We and our customers find that having a single invoice for the vintage is the simpler option but please note that confirmed orders are still binding even if the final invoice has not yet been issued.

Please specify on your wishlist order form where you would like the wines shipped on arrival in the UK. If this is to a third-party bonded warehouse, please specify the relevant account details. If the wines are required duty-paid we will issue a second invoice for duty and VAT at the prevailing rate when the wines are available for delivery.

Half-bottles, Magnums and larger bottles.

One of the additional advantages of buying en primeur is being able to order the wine in the format you want. While most of our listings are for 75cl bottles, we can source wines in any format if offered by the Château. Please note that format requests cannot be changed once wines have been invoiced. Additional charges for special formats do apply and are as follows:-

  • +£20 per case of 24 half-bottles
  • +£10 per case of 6 Magnums (2 bottles equivalent, 1.5 litres each)
  • +£35 per individually boxed Double Magnum (4 bottles equivalent, 3 litres)
  • +£50 per individually boxed Imperial (8 bottles equivalent, 6 litres) for Salmanazars, Balthazars, Nebuchadnezzars and Melchiors please enquire for availability and price.

Storage Options:

Wines bought en primeur won't arrive in the UK until 2023. If you do not wish to take home delivery at that point, you may wish to consider where you would like the wines shipped. Lea & Sandeman offers duty paid and in bond storage through a dedicated storage company called Elephant Storage. For more details on the terms and fees associated with storage please go to our Storage Homepage or contact our private client team for more information.