Joined Estate Manager of Haut Brion, Jean-Philippe Delmas, at Chateau Haut-Brion
Started with a barrel tasting of the 2007 vintage. Haut-Brion is one of the very few properties to have already blended their wines and so what we tasted from the barrel was the very young but finished wine of 2007. It was incredibly together and showed off pure fresh fruit aromas of blackcurrant, already some vanilla from the new oak and also the smokey cedar and mineral flavours that is characteristic of Haut Brion.
Followed by, in their wonderfully light tower tasting room with windows on all sides, a comparative tasting of 2003 and 2004 of Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion and their second wines.
2004 La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion
Open attractive wine with floral notes and cherry on the nose. Fresh on the palate with ripe red fruit. Approachable already.
2004 Le Bahans du Chateau Haut-Brion
Bahans is one of the best second wines in Bordeaux vieing for first place along with Les Forts de Latour, the second wine of Latour. It was one of the first second wines to be made in the 1950s. Much more serious wine and a worthy little brother of the Grand Vin with plenty of structure and depth.
2004 La Mission Haut-Brion
Wonderful purity of fruit. Complex aromas of minerals and sweet blackcurrant. Medium bodied very complex wine
Big refined wine with incredible aromas of minerals, spicy oak, sweet blackcurrant, earthiness; layered on top of eachother on the palate. Fullbodied richness, pure, dense and complex. The wines of Haut Brion are monumental. A great block of marble elegantly sculpted.
2003 La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion
Much more heat but still an approachable juicy wine with spice and cassis fruit. Luscious and enjoyable.
2003 Le Bahans du Chateau Haut-Brion
Tobacco, earth, mineral, blackcurrant are all found in this very powerful dense wine. Lifted by surprising freshness.
2003 La Mission Haut-Brion
Dried herbs, sweet cherry and earthiness to the wine. Powerful wine with smoked and gilled flavours but an undertone of freshness despite the heatwave conditions.
More Syrah-like with its provence herbs and roasted meat. Rich blackcurrant sweetness with low acidity but amazing freshness to the wine. Powerful but absolutely noble wine. Incredible.
When I first smelled these wines I had a shock. These wines smelled of very fine Meursault!
2004 Laville (70% Semillon, 27% Sauvignon, 3% Muscadelle)
This wine is stunning. I loved its floral honeysuckle, creamy caramel incredibly complex and aromatic nose. Wonderfully fresh with a purity of white peachy flavours. Lovely balance of oak (13 to 16 months aging in new oak barrels). Delicious. A Coup de Coeur for me. There is less gravel in the soils at La Mission.
2004 Haut-Brion Blanc (63% Semillon, 37% Sauvignon)
Dense, full-bodied and powerful in the mouth but less aromatic on the nose. Less Sauvignon charactristics although there is more in the blend compared with Laville, the white wine of La Mission Haut-Brion. The soil at Haut-Brion has more gravel compared the heavier soils at La Mission.There is a definite minerality to this wine