2023 Pessac-Léognan Château Haut Brion


55.5 Merlot, 40.9 Cabernet Sauvignon, 3.6 Cabernet Franc: 22.5% new oak: 14.2% alc Of course, Le Clarence ought to be at least a decent second wine in a vintage in which its Grand Vin stepped up to the top step of the podium. I had no idea it would gain a gold medal score in my notes within seconds of it hitting my system, and this means it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with a very different group of wines in 2023! Firm, buttressed, dark and swirling, the tannins don’t hold back and then invade the palate early, warning the taster that this is not a ‘second wine’ situation. It is a vintage for Le Clarence to stride forward, break rank, and make some noise. There is unexpected intensity and spice here, making this a daring, wayward wine with prodigious length. The perfume sings throughout the experience. It does not disconnect politely from the palate, letting the palate take over – it takes command of everything. Remember, hot vintages overtake terroir, but more controlled vintages allow the terroir to sing, and this property is unique in this and any solar system! I was left not with an image of a planet in my head but another spherical object - a perfectly ripe griotte sitting atop a tee of tannins awaiting a thwack from a mighty golfer. Yes, Le Clarence is that impactful. Rating: 18.5 Matthew Jukes www.matthewjukes.com (May 2024)

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 2023 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion is a heady wine. Here, the tannins are especially polished, almost uncharacteristically so, even through they are very much present. Black cherry, plum, chocolate, spice, new leather and gravel build effortlessly in the glass. Bright acids punctuate the finish. The 2023 is a showy Clarence with tons of character. Drinking range: 2026 - 2045 Rating: 91-93 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (May 2024)

Like La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion, this presents a nose of powdered chalk, crushed with rose petals, peony and pepper. This has a little more delineation and appeal than La Chapelle, with directly drawn fruit, broad and correct, with a little sense of sinew and structure to it. Plenty of firm phenolic grip here, showing though at the end. Lots of structure, but perhaps not quite enough direction here; all the same this is a very nice second wine, although it will need some time to absorb that grip. The alcohol here is 14.2%. Rating: 90-92 Chris Kissack, www.thewinedoctor.com (Apr 2024)

The 2023 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion is a heady wine. Here, the tannins are especially polished, almost uncharacteristically so, even through they are very much present. Black cherry, plum, chocolate, spice, new leather and gravel build effortlessly in the glass. Bright acids punctuate the finish. The 2023 is a showy Clarence with tons of character. Drinking range: 2026 - 2045 Rating: 91-93 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Apr 2024)

With aromas of ripe raspberries, dark wild berries and flowers, the 2023 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion is a moderately weighted, firm and dense wine on the palate with sweet structuring tannins and a long, vibrant finish. This blend of 55.5% Merlot, 40.9% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3.6% Cabernet Franc is a great bottle in the making. Drinking range: 2025 - 2045 Rating: 91-93 Yohan Castaing, www.robertparker.com (Apr 2024)

Intensity and focus to this, with length and raciness for the second wine of Haut-Brion, showing polish and a refined texture. It’s medium-bodied with ultra-fine tannins and an exquisite finish. Caressing. 55.5% merlot, 40.9% cabernet sauvignon and 3.6% cabernet franc. Rating: 95-96 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Apr 2024)

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 020 7018 0187.


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 is 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.


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.


  • 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 2023 Bordeaux bought en primeur is expected during 2026. Delivery dates may vary as wines are shipped from Bordeaux at different times.

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 that is 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:-

  • +£18.00 per case of 12 half-bottles
  • +£30.00 per case of 24 half-bottles
  • +£7.50 per case of 3 Magnums (2 bottles equivalent, 1.5 litres each)
  • +£11.00 per case of 6 Magnums
  • +£45.00 per individually boxed Double Magnum (4 bottles equivalent, 3 litres)
  • +£60.00 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 2026. 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.