2007 Haut Brion: Whites win hands down but finesse with more Cabernet Sauvignon for the reds

2007 Haut Brion, First Growth, Pessac Leognan

Haut Brion is one on its own. It is the only red first growth outside the Medoc and is located just on the outskirts on Bordeaux. It is always the first to be harvested due to its hot micro-climate and very gravelly soils. It is one of the most aromatically complex of wines. Its red has a recognisable cedar and graphite mineral nose.

Here they do their selection in December when the wine is just been made so that every barrel has the finished wine in it already.


The tiny parcels of vineyards produce one of Bordeaux’s finest white wines, as powerful as the best Burgundys. Though the two plots are very close geographically and in terms of wine-making (made by the same winemaking teams), the white wine produced at La Mission (Laville) and Haut Brion are world’s apart. Laville has a higher percentage of Semillon, but it is the terroir that makes the real difference.

In 2007 the white wines have the volume, concentrated ripe fruit of white peaches and cream and the wonderful singy acisity which ties the whole thing together. Power, concentration, elegance and expression. Truely divine.

2007 Château Laville Haut-Brion3.5 hectares 83% Semillon and 17% Sauvignon. Exotic intensely aromatic nose of citrus, flinty with exotic side to it with creamy coconut notes. Layers of fruit flavours. Sauvignon in the blend is very expressive! Still cloudy due to the recent stirrings (batonnage) as the wine is fermented in oak barrels and then left on its lees and stirred to expose more of the wine to the enriching degrading yeast cells.

2007 Château Haut-Brion Blanc3.5 hectares. 45% Semillon, 55% Sauvignon. Very dense and complex on the nose. Very intense powerful flinty aromas and spicy wood notes too. Much more restrained without the intense fruit aromas of Laville. Much more terroir based than grape variety. Minerality with a capital M. Thick and unctuous with a very long finish. Semillon much more dominant than the Sauvignon although less in the blend!



This year more Cabernet Sauvignon in the blends as it was the most successful grape variety with its smooth velvety tannins. Less wood used this year, 70% new oak instead of 100% in 2005 and 2006. Average yields lower too as the grapes were smaller (45 hl/ha compared to 55 last year).

Aromatically complex cigar box lead pencil mineral plum multi-layered pure

2007 La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion: 64% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc. Exuberant red fruit with floral notes and picking up creaminess from the oak. Light and fresh with soft supple tannins.  

2007 Château Bahans Haut-Brion: 51% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet FrancNose more closed but eventually opened up into caramel cherry sweetness. Ripe and concentrated  dense cherry on the palate. Slightly bitter finish.

2007 Château La Mission Haut-Brion: 43% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc. Spiciness and cedar on the nose but again still quite closed. Mineral, hot stones complemented by almost cherry kirsch sweetness. Dense with long finish but ending slightly sour.

2007 Château Haut Brion: 43% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc. Complex intense nose of ripe cherry fruit and spicy cedar. No scorched earth here but refreshing freshness complemented the very ripe fruit. Very together for such a young wine with creamy vanilla notes apparent too. Not a heavy weight but incredibly complex and elegant.

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