LA CLARTÉ DE HAUT BRION

2020 Graves

EN PRIMEUR

The 2020 La Clarté de Haut-Brion is airy, bright and gracious, all of which make it an excellent choice for drinking now and over the next handful of years. Citrus peel, white flowers, mint, sage and green apple are all laced together in this breezy, charming white. Drinking range: 2025 - 2035 Rating: 90-92 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 La Clarté de Haut-Brion has a light nose of apple orchard, freshly sliced pear and light crushed rock scents, although I would have liked to see more intensity. The palate is well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, and quite saline, displaying a welcome touch of bitter lemon toward the finish. This should give a decade of drinking pleasure. Drinking range: 2023 - 2033 Rating: 89-91 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2021)

Powerfully rich with excellent weight through the mid palate. Silky in texture, seductive but balanced by an enjoyable touch of green apple and steel through the close of play. Harvest from 19th to 28th August. Drinking range: 2021 - 2027 Rating: 92 Jane Anson, Decanter (May 2021)

Full bottle 1,285 g. Cask sample taken 12 April. 74.8% Sémillon, 25.2% Sauvignon Blanc picked 19 to 28 August. Estimated alcohol 13.4%. Very dense and limpid and immediately offering so much more than the other dry whites from this appellation. Smoky minerality and an amazing floral freshness. White blossom? Then it's surprisingly lightweight on the palate (after that dense nose). This really races along. Sort of like a Victorian child with a hoop, to venture in to Tam territory. Already lots of fun to drink, with low astringency and good fruit/acid balance. Though not especially persistent. Drinking range: 2021 - 2025 Rating: 16.5+ Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2021)

La Clarté de Haut-Brion is the white wine made from both Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion and in the 2020 vintage it has been given a new bottle design to express its exceptional dual ancestry. This is a spicy wine with ginger and white pepper sprinkled throughout the experience and it makes it a more fascinating and involving creation than I have seen before. The depth and scale of flavour is fascinating, too, because it appears, on the one hand, to be quite refreshing and nubile, however, there are moments of great depth, too. There is a lot of evolution ahead of La Clarté and I anticipate it building in mid-palate weight and filling out, too, on the nose and finish. This is a delicious wine and I imagine it will start to blossom in or around its 10th birthday. Rating: 17.5+/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.