Chateau Haut-Brion 2009
Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
The Wine Advocate - "What a blockbuster effort! Atypically powerful, one day, the 2009 Haut-Brion may be considered to be the 21st century version of the 1959. It is an extraordinarily complex, concentrated effort made from a blend of 46% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Cabernet Franc with the highest alcohol ever achieved at this estate, 14.3%. Even richer than the perfect 1989, with similar technical numbers although slightly higher extract and alcohol, it offers up a sensational perfume of subtle burning embers, unsmoked cigar tobacco, charcoal, black raspberries, wet gravel, plums, figs and blueberries. There is so much going on in the aromatics that one almost hesitates to stop smelling it. However, when it hits the palate, it is hardly a letdown. This unctuously textured, full-bodied 2009 possesses low acidity along with stunning extract and remarkable clarity for a wine with a pH close to 4.0. The good news is that there are 10,500 cases of the 2009, one of the most compelling examples of Haut-Brion ever made. It requires a decade of cellaring and should last a half century or more. Readers who have loved the complexity of Haut-Brion should be prepared for a bigger, richer, more massive wine, but one that does not lose any of its prodigious aromatic attractions. "
James Suckling - "Aromas of forest floor, currants and blueberries, with hints of fresh tobacco and sliced mushrooms. Turns to orange peel and blueberries. Full-bodied, with incredible structure. This is so powerful in tannins, yet so polished. This is the most structured Haut-Brion that I have ever tasted. This has 15% Cabernet Franc, which is more than normal and perhaps giving the wine a little more tannic structure. A monumental Haut-Brion made to age for centuries. I have never tasted a young Haut-Brion, with such spellbinding power and depth. A modern 1945 or 1961 HB? Better than the legendary 1989? Try in 2021."
Wine Spectator - "This enormous young wine is among the most backward of the vintage at this early stage, with iron-clad grip holding the broad, deep core of blackberry, cassis and roasted fig notes in check for now. The finish is a torrent of dense, almost compressed layers of tobacco leaf, hot paving stone, singed bay leaf and tar that will take at least a decade to come together. This one is for the kids born in 2009. Best from 2020 through 2040."
International Wine Cellar - "Vivid deep ruby. Knockout fruity nose offers blackcurrant, strawberry, rosemary, truffle and a stony note. Then very closed in the middle, with cabernet sauvignon-dominated flavors of cassis, cigar box, cedar and minerals. Finishes long and deep, with massive but smooth tannins and a lingering note of violet. This will need plenty of time in the cellar but should be an outstanding, memorable Haut Brion. Offhand, I do not recall a better pair of wines from any estate in 2009: millionaires will have a lot of fun trying to choose between La Mission and Haut Brion in 20 years' time.
Wine Enthusiast - "Solid, very structured, packed with dense and dry tannins. There is a core of acidity and darkness that gives the wine a brooding, powerful character. At this stage, it seems austere although it does have the weight of fruit typical of the year. "
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Chateau Haut-Brion Winery
Château Haut-Brion is the oldest and by far the smallest of the "Premiers Grands Crus" vineyards of the Gironde 1855 classification. Château Haut-Brion is one of the few remaining family-owned domains of the Bordeaux region with a history going back to the 16th century. It has been owned by the American Dillon family since 1935. View all Chateau Haut-Brion Wines
About Pessac-LeognanView a map of Pessac-Leognan wineries (PEH-sak lay-ohn-yawn)
One of the top appellations within Graves, Pessac-Léognan is home to the only Graves chateau listed as a first growth in the 1855 Médoc classification – Chateau Haut-Brion. In fact, praise for the chateau dates back to the days of Thomas Jefferson, when, upon visiting the chateau in 1787, he bought 125 bottles for his cellar in Virginia.
The majority of wines made here are red, but Pessac-Léognan is also known for producing some of the finest dry white wines of Bordeaux. Many of the top chateau, like Chateau Haut Brion and Chateau Mission Haut Brion, produce top-quality whites alongside their red. Other Chateaux, like Smith Haut Lafite and Carbonnieux, are better known for their distinguished white wines than reds. Both colors of wine from this region have the specific tastes of the gravelly soil where it's grown.
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 & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.