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Red Bordeaux - 2016 - Haut Brion

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Tasting Notes

The 2016 Haut-Brion has a beguiling sense of purity on the nose, which features scents of blackberry, crushed violet petals, hints of dark chocolate and even a suggestion of fresh fig. Underneath all this is a seam of mineralité that becomes more conspicuous with aeration, tightening everything up. The palate is medium-bodied with filigreed tannin, a satiny texture, perfect acidity and incredible harmony. Everything here is in the right place. Quite sensual in style, conveying an enthralling sense of delineation on the long finish. About as good as you will find in this vintage. Drink 2026-2080

Score: 99 Neal Martin, vinous.com (Jan 2019), January 2019

The 2016 Haut-Brion is blended of 56% Merlot, 37.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6.5% Cabernet Franc. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the nose is at once profound and arresting, offering drop-dead gorgeous Morello cherries, lilacs and red rose scents with a core of Black Forest cake, warm blackcurrants and blueberry preserves plus wafts of sandalwood and underbrush. Medium-bodied, the elegantly crafted palate is completely packed with intense floral, mineral and cassis-laced flavors with a firm frame of very finely pixelated tannins and seamless freshness, finishing very long and achingly stunning.

Score: 100 Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, November 2018

The 2016 Haut-Brion is quite possibly even more magnificent from bottle than it was from barrel. Powerful and rich, yet not at all heavy, the 2016 is a wine of nearly indescribable beauty. Haut-Brion is often a thrilling wine, but it is rarely this finessed in its youth. Gravel, cure meat, tobacco and cedar are some of the many nuances that develop with air, but it is an extraordinary sense of harmony that really stands out. What a wine!

2026 - 2066

Score: 100 Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, January 2019

This is a monument for Haut-Brion and reminds me of the great 1998 but in a modern and bright style. Full-bodied, very tannic and superbly structured yet always agile and vivid. Its energy and dynamic nature grabs you by the shoulder and tells you it’s great. Staggeringly precise. It can’t get better than this, can it?

Score: 100 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, March 2017

Even deeper colour than La Mission. Broad and spicy and very rich and a compote of warm bricks. (La Mission is more muscular and obviously tannic.) Firm and not over the top. Prances. Transparent and very much Haut-Brion.
Drink 2028-2050

Score: 19 Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2017

This has a little more reticence initially on the nose than La Mission, but after a few minutes the rich texture begins to reveal itself, with charcoal, tobacco, dark plum and damson fruits that are straining at the leash. It has hidden power and subtle oak toasting - this clearly feels no need to shout about its presence, but there will be plenty to discover over time. You can feel those tannins licking around your teeth, building up one layer at a time. A great wine En primeur that has settled into greatness. Drinking Window 2026 - 2046.

Score: 100 Jane Anson, Decanter Magazine, December 2018

Tasted blind. Relatively pale garnet. Light and fresh on the nose. Just a tad simple. Lots of acidity and freshness but no great concentration of fruit. Though it’s deceptive as it really opens out on the end. Very refined.
Drink 2026 – 2046

Score: 18 Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, February 2020

Without doubt one of the world's greatest and most individual wine estates. The family traditions continue here with Jean-Philippe Delmas running the wine-making as his father and grandfather did before him and Clarence Dillon's great-grandson Robert de Luxembourg in overall charge of this wonderful property. Haut Brion - unlike the other First Growths - has never had a bad period and, for our money, is the most consistently great wine of Bordeaux. Since 1958 it has been bottled in the unique and iconic Haut Brion bottle. Deep colour with a tight, brooding nose of clove, cassis and wood smoke. The palate is tightly wound, with layers of fine tannin holding a dense core of brooding fruit. The lifted acidity gives great finesse to the texture of the wine, which is svelte, precise and fine on a very long, pure cassis finish. Currently more backward than many wines this year, it may take time to reveal its true qualities.

Score: 18 Farr Vintners, April 2017

Brooding richness the nose has depth the palate has concentrated black fruits. Sweet in the middle the tannins are fine and integrated supple fleshy rich fruit. At the back fresher fruit gives a lighter feel fragrant stylish but there is sweetness rich fruit on the finish. 2028-48

Score: 95/98 Derek Smedley MW, DerekSmedleyMW.co.uk, April 2017

Ambitious, concentrated and built for the long haul, this is a superb Haut-Brion that’s combines density and concentration with grace and fine balance. Scented, grassy and floral, it shifts into another gear on the palate, with layers of fine tannins, dark, savoury fruit and refreshing acidity. 2028-40

Score: 97 Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2017

This stunning wine is flexing its muscles, showing off its power and depth. Perfectly placed, so precise and utterly gorgeous with a hand-in-glove power. The texture is satin, silky and velvety, each strand providing a different take on charcoal, slate, menthol and bilberry, with mouthwatering acidity that suspends the finish for several minutes. Harvesting took place between 19th September and 13th October. 56% Merlot, 37.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6.5% Cabernet Franc aged in 78% new oak.
Drinking Window 2027 - 2050

Score: 98 Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2017

Immensely tannic, this is a great Haut-Brion, one of the finest for many years. It shows the severe side of this estate, with a dense structure to match the powerful black fruits. Rich with berry flavors and lifted by enough acidity, the wine will age for many years. Drink from 2026.

Score: 100 Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast, January 2019