Ch. Laville Haut-Brion Graves (Blanc) 2008
Bordeaux White Blends from Graves, Bordeaux, France
Wine Enthusiast - "Rich, wonderfully concentrated wine, with ripe apricots, green plums, touches of toast riding over a structure that is just beginning a long aging process. Give this wine 10 years. This is the last vintage under this name. From 2009, the wine has been rebaptized Château La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc."
The Wine Advocate - "The last vintage of Laville Haut-Brion (its name was changed to La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc in 2009) is a blend of 79% Semillon and 21% Sauvignon Blanc revealing lovely lemon blossom, orange marmalade, candle wax, honeysuckle and hints of smoky oak. Full-bodied and capable of lasting 20-25 years, it is a sensational dry white."
Wine Spectator - "Very pure and fresh, with lots of mouthwatering quinine and kiwifruit framing the core of yellow apple, heather, blanched almond and green plum. Very long. Needs a little time in the cellar to blossom. This will be the last vintage for this label; it changes to Château La Mission Haut-Brion starting in the 2009 vintage. "
James Suckling - "A solid white, with apple pie, cream and lemon sorbert. Full and dense, with a racy finish. Tangy. Very tight still. Give it four to five years to open."
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Chateau Laville Haut-Brion Winery
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Named so for the gravelly base of soil common in the area, Graves is diverse in the wines it creates. Think red, white and sweet. The best reds of Graves are in Pessac-Léognan in the north, including the famed and lauded first growth, Chateau Haut Brion. There, and in the central area of Graves, come some deliciously dry white wine, while towards the south, you find the sweet wine of Sauternes & Barsac.
While Graves is most certainly known for its high-quality appellations of Pessac-Léognan and the sweet regions of the south, it also produces dome delicious wine outside of these regions, particularly in the dry white category. The two white grapes, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, are the primary components of Graves' white wines. Many of the dry, crisp style white wines contain more Sauvignon Blanc, while the fuller-bodied whites of the area focus on Semillon. Graves is also known for red wines, based on Cabernet Sauvignon, like the rest of the left bank, and blending with Merlot and some Cabernet Franc.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.