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2024 - 2040
Reviewed by Lisa Perrotti-Brown
A blend of 60.1% Merlot, 31.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6.7% Cabernet Franc and 1.5% Petit Verdot, harvested from the 7th to the 29th of September, the 2020 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion has an estimated alcohol of 15.2%. Deep purple-black in color, it bursts from the glass with notions of baked black cherries, blackberry pie and plum preserves, leading to hints of ripe redcurrants, spice cake and smoked meats, plus a touch of hoisin. The big, rich, full-bodied palate is a full-on decadent mouthful, featuring lovely freshness to lift all that rich black fruit and a velvety texture, finishing long and spicy. A beautiful behemoth that is going to wow the hedonists!
The 2020 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion has a succulent bouquet of dark cherries, boysenberry and crushed violet scents, quite heady and bold for a second wine (even the second wine of a First Growth!). The palate is medium-bodied with succulent, pliant tannins that frame the pure black cherry, wild strawberry and black currant fruit. Veins of licorice appear toward the finish. There is a lot of density in this Le Clarence and a little more structure than usual, and it suits it well. - vinous.com
(60% M, 32% CS, 8% CF; 15.2% ABV)
Ripe blackberry Merlot to smell; full, moderately concentrated, firmly but finely tannic; a refined and relatively delicate core of fruit here, sweet and fresh, with the alcohol presence distracting a bit from its finesse, but behind that, this is long and graceful, with excellent sweet fruit persistence. The somewhat “dryhard” tannin texture distracts a bit, which it would not do at 13.5% ABV, for example. A refined, freshly sweet, graceful wine, successful in the style, if not so obviously Pessac-Léognan in origin any more. 2028–38+.
Very plush and tannic with full body and lots of structure and intensity. Top second wine. Very solid and quite muscular with fine tannins and texture.
Full, distinctive, embossed bottle 1,305 g. Cask sample taken 12 April. 60.1% Merlot, 31.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6.7% Cabernet Franc, 1.5% Petit Verdot. Estimated alcohol: 15.2%. Picked from 7 to 29 September
Mid purplish crimson. Rather simple, or at least uncommunicative, on the nose at present, though there is a beguiling combination of ripe fruit and stoniness (warm bricks?) on the palate which has impressive concentration. Comparing it with other celebrated Pessac-Léognans of the same vintage, it is clear that this has some magic dust – as it should considering how much more expensive it is. Lots of leathery tannin underneath but it is the integrity of the fruit that is so impressive.
The 2020 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion is a jewel of a wine. Deep, powerful and structured, it captures all of the gravitas of the Grand Vin, but in a more accessible style. Gravel, leather, tobacco, cedar and dried herbs lend quite a bit of aromatic nuance to this powerhouse Pessac-Léognan. I very much like the intensity and drive here.
Forest leaf, cigar box, herbs, flowers, cherry pipe tobacco, forest scents and spice nuances start off the perfume. On the palate the wine is juicy, silky, fresh and vibrant with layers of fresh, sweet, vibrant, polished red fruits that linger. Elegance is the keyword here. This is probably the finest vintage of Le Clarence de Haut Brion ever produced. It is a great example of a baby Haut Brion. Enjoy this for the next 10-15 years while waiting for the Grand Vin to develop. 94-96
The second wine of Château Haut-Brion, the 2020 Le Clarence De Haut-Brion is certainly a gem and well worth seeking out. Offering loads of red cherry and currant-like fruit, this medium to full-bodied, concentrated beauty has lots of graphite, fresh stone, and tobacco aromatics, beautiful mid-palate depth, outstanding length, and ripe, polished tannins. It has everything you look for from this region, all in a character-filled, up-front, undeniably delicious style that should evolve gracefully for over two decades.