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2029 - 2064
Reviewed by - Lisa Perrotti-Brown
The 2020 Haut-Brion is a blend of 42.8% Merlot, 39.7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17.5% Cabernet Franc, harvested from 7th to 29th September, with an estimated alcohol of 15% and a pH of 3.8. Opaque purple-black colored, it leaps from the glass with a first wave of vibrant black raspberries, ripe blackberries and mulberries scents, followed by a powerful core of warm cassis, dark chocolate and violets, before bursting into an array of crushed rocks, iron ore, tree bark and black truffles notes. The concentrated, densely packed, full-bodied palate is not in the least bit heavy, delivering a refreshing backbone of red berry and dried herbs suggestions, framed by seamless acidity and very finely grained tannins, finishing on an epically long, fragrant earth note. Simply stunning.
The 2020 Haut-Brion was picked September 7–29. It has a more opulent, more precocious bouquet compared directly with its neighbor across the road, resplendent with layers of black cherry, wild strawberry, black olives and a touch of inkwell. Perhaps it displays slightly less mineralité compared to La Mission Haut-Brion? The palate is medium-bodied with pliant tannins and a disarming satiny texture matched by a perfect line of acidity. It builds beautifully in the glass, and yet as I constantly return to the La Mission, it does not possess quite the same thrilling tension and pixelation. This is still a magnificent, bold and almost audacious Haut-Brion and I am intrigued to see how it develops in barrel.
(43% M, 40% CS, 17% CF; 15% ABV)
A fine, discreet nose, the first in the Haut-Brion group of reds where there is the merest hint of “gravel” origin in the smell behind the crisply sweet cassis aromas; full, concentrated, finely tannic, and freshly defined; vibrantly sweet, long and complex in its fruit core, racy and aromatic (the terroir’s class will out!); there is a considerable richness of fruit here, and great subtle length across the palate, followed by splendid persistence to finish. Elegant, aristocratic, poised, even at 15%, the location’s class is all there but in a forte, almost fortissimo rendering. Clearly a very fine Haut-Brion in its current “high-alcohol” style: silky rich, sweetly ripe, fleshy cored within the fine, slightly alcohol-dried and harshened tannins. Will that texture ever mellow completely? Impossible to say at the moment. 2032–50+.
This is a superb Haut-Brion with incredible tannins that are wonderfully fine-grained. It’s really powerful. This is very primary with so much grape-generated tannin structure. Very, very long, going on for minutes. Seductive and friendly at the start and then takes you on at the finish with so much structure. Wine of the vintage?
Full, distinctive, embossed bottle 1,305 g. Cask sample taken 12 April. 42.8% Merlot, 39.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17.5% Cabernet Franc. Estimated alcohol 15%. Picked from 7 to 29 September.
More obviously aromatic and lifted than the second wine, Le Clarence de Haut-Brion. Intensely seductive nose in fact. Very savoury, tobacco-leaf palate entry and then quite a tingle. Acidity is a feature of the finish. Very muscular indeed but clearly with more flesh and less obvious tannin than La Mission 2020. Almost juicy. Too early for much of the 'warm bricks' nose to have developed, I assume. Long and emphatic with a little more zest than Haut-Brion often has at this early stage.
The 2020 Haut-Brion is shaping up to be one of the wines of the year. Substance, depth and textural intensity elevate Haut-Brion into the realm of the sublime in 2020. All the elements are so wonderfully balanced. Inky dark fruit, gravel, lavender, violet and dark spice build as the 2020 gradually opens with some aeration. Wow.
Dark, ruby, garnet in color, the wine exudes cedar, cigar box, tobacco leaf, smoke, roasted cherries, herbs, spice box and forest floor scents. What is amazing here is the incredible level of density, because it is also light on its feet, perfectly balanced, poised and energetic. Texturally, this is surreal. Picture velvet and polished silk on your palate coating each berry. The fruit offers intensity, purity and length, with a finish that exceeds 60 seconds. The seamless finish could put a smile on the most jaded taster. Do not be concerned with the alcohol levels as there is no heat. All of that is buried in the wealth of fruit. If you have the money, this is one of the great vintages of Haut Brion that promises to evolve for at least 4-5 decades with ease. The wine blends 42.8% Merlot, 39.7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17.5% Cabernet Franc, 15% ABV. Harvesting took place September 7-September 29. 98-100
Unquestionably one of the top wines in this impressive vintage, the 2020 Château Haut-Brion checks in as 42.8% Merlot, 39.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance Cabernet Franc, all of which will spend 15-18 months in 77% new French oak. Its deep purple color is followed by a thrilling nose of mineral-laced blackcurrants, black raspberries, toast, spice, scorched earth, and graphite. Possessing an almost Lafite-like elegance on the palate, it nevertheless has huge dry extract, full-bodied richness, flawless balance, and beautiful tannins. Per the spec sheet, the alcohol is an estimated 15% with a pH of 3.78, so it’s no shrinking violet, yet it never shows a hint of headiness or being over the top. I finished my note with “Where can I buy some?” I suspect this wine will require a solid decade to hit the early stages of maturity and will be a 30-, 40-, or possibly a 50-year wine.
Tasted by Jane Anson(at Primeur week tastings in Bordeaux, 01 May 2021)
Concentrated, powerful and precise; this takes a grip and holds on, layers of liquorice, grilled coffee bean, chocolate, blackcurrant pastille, cassis bud and a more steely wet stone edge that gives a much needed balance to the richness of the overall feel of this wine. Gunsmoke curls out of the glass after half an hour - this is going to need serious ageing, impressive and powerful stuff. Harvest from 7th to 29th September.
Drinking Window 2030 - 2050