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Chateau Haut-Brion 2006

Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
  • WE96
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  • W&S93
14.5% ABV
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Elegance would be the word that best describes this wine. There exist obvious wines which spontaneously approach you and those whose reticence oblige you to draw them out to get to know them. Château Haut-Brion, without a doubt, falls into the second category. Its color is a very deep red. The nose, at first reserved, opens up softly and slowly. Notes of minerals are followed by red berries, then an earthy whiff dominated by an aroma of fresh ground coffee beans. Before you know it the wine charms you with all of its incredible complexity. The mouth is silky. The treatment of this vintage's special tannins renders them astonishingly suave. Their freshness carries them along eventually towards an unending length on the palate. One will without a doubt need great patience to await the future when one can truly profit from the potential of this great vintage of Château Haut-Brion.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 96
Wine Enthusiast
RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2006 Haut-Brion performed even better from bottle than it did from barrel. Sixty-four percent of the production went into this wine, and while it displays the vintage’s powerful tannins and structure, it possesses superb concentration, and the minerality/scorched earth notes of a great Haut-Brion. Medium to full-bodied, with perhaps not quite the fleshiness of the 2005 or 2000, it is built more along the lines of the 1998 and 1996. It is a brilliant effort displaying sensational purity, texture, and length that should be exceptionally long-lived. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2035.
JD 95
Jeb Dunnuck
The 2006 Haut Brion is a classic, elegant version of this cuvee, and while approachable, it is still young and relatively unevolved. Textbook Graves notes of smoky tobacco, cigar, leafy herbs, lots of earthy minerality, and a deep core of black fruits all emerge from this beauty. With medium to full-bodied richness and impressive mid-palate depth, it has fine, present tannin, impeccable balance, and a great finish. Drink this classic Haut Brion anytime over the coming two decades.
WS 94
Wine Spectator
Offers subtle and complex aromas, with violet, cedar and blackberry. Full-bodied, with ultrafine tannins and a very long finish. Tight and curled up in a ball. Best after 2015. 11,000 cases made.
W&S 93
Wine & Spirits
Jean-Philippe Delmas's team at Domaine Clarence Dillon produced two excellent wines in 2006 from the neighboring properties of Haut-Brion and La Mission. Both share an aristocratic stature, with Haut-Brion more immediately powerful and expressive in this vintage. As if the fruit mirrored the multicolored pebbles of the vineyard, this touches off sensory impressions of fresh currants, pomegranate, cherry pits, coriander, black raspberry, rhubarb and fennel, all seeming to emanate from the same dark and mysterious place at the center of the wine. The texture is lean and taut, with a tensile strength that carries the fruit past mouth-drying tannin through a mineral finish that lasts for minutes. There's nothing effusive about the wine; it's all reserved. Probably at its best between ten and 20 years from the vintage.
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Chateau Haut-Brion

Chateau Haut-Brion

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Chateau Haut-Brion, France - Other regions
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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.Thanks to its long history as one of Bordeaux's most prestigious wines, the estate has left its mark on the region for centuries.

The vineyard covers an area of 51 hectares (about 126 acres). Slightly more than 48 hectares are planted with red grape varieties. The terrain at Haut-Brion, formed of two large mounds of a type of gravel known as Gunzian because it was deposited during the earliest geologic stage of the Pleistocene epoch, rises between 40 and 50 feet above the beds of the neighboring streams. This gravel consists of small stones, including various kinds of quartz, and it is these precious gems that help to give Château Haut-Brion's wines their distinctive character. This expansive elevated reach of gravelly terrain, bounded at the north by the Le Peugue stream and at the south by the Le Serpent stream, has been called Haut -Brion at least as far back as the early years of the fifteenth century, as evidenced by ancient maps and deeds dating from this period. The sub-soil consists of a mixture of clay and sand.

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Pessac-Leognan

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Recognized for its superior reds as well as whites, Pessac-Léognan on the Left Bank claims classified growths for both—making it quite unique in comparison to its neighboring Médoc properties.

Pessac’s Chateau Haut-Brion, the only first growth located outside of the Médoc, is said to have been the first to conceptualize fine red wine in Bordeaux back in the late 1600s. The estate, along with its high-esteemed neighbors, La Mission Haut-Brion, Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pique-Caillou and Chateau Pape-Clément are today all but enveloped by the city of Bordeaux. The rest of the vineyards of Pessac-Léognan are in clearings of heavily forested area or abutting dense suburbs.

Arid sand and gravel on top of clay and limestone make the area unique and conducive to growing Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc as well as the grapes in the usual Left Bank red recipe: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and miniscule percentages of Petit Verdot and Malbec.

The best reds will show great force and finesse with inky blue and black fruit, mushroom, forest, tobacco, iodine and a smooth and intriguing texture.

Its best whites show complexity, longevity and no lack of exotic twists on citrus, tropical and stone fruit with pronounced floral and spice characteristics.

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Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

CVY4093A6_2006 Item# 98003