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Chateau Haut-Brion 2012

Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
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Winemaker Notes

Blend: 65% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc.

Critical Acclaim

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V 97
Vinous
A big, powerful wine, the 2012 Haut-Brion possesses stunning richness and intensity, with all of the depth that is lacking in so many other wines in this vintage. Not here. The 2012 possesses remarkable depth and tons of raw, animal power that is going to require considerable time in bottle to soften. Readers should be in no rush; the 2012 Haut-Brion is a wine for the ages. Smoke, graphite, dried herbs and blue/purplish stone fruits grace the exotic, alluring finish.
RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Tasted blind at the Southwold 2012 tasting, the 2012 Haut-Brion has an open and generous bouquet with blackcurrant pastille, cassis and briary aromas the exude very pure Merlot. The palate is medium-bodied with a sumptuous opening that is rare in 2012: rounded and generous, caressing in the mouth with black plum and blackcurrant towards the finish, residues of truffle and white pepper lingering on the aftertaste that turn very savory after 15 minutes—bacon fat or Italian cured meats. There is a lot to love about this Haut-Brion although in this blind showing I scored it the same as La Mission Haut-Brion. Who will stick their neck out as the two wines mature? Tasted January 2016.
Rating: 96+
WE 96
Wine Enthusiast
Firm and solid, this is one of the successes of 2012. It’s properly dark and tough at this stage, with that serious intent that’s a hallmark of Haut-Brion. Layers of firm tannins are interspersed with blackberry fruits and juicy acidity. The wine is dense and concentrated, with the wood aging still showing. This powerful wine will need many years. Drink from 2024. Cellar Selection.
JS 96
James Suckling
Amazing aromas of wet stones, earth, currants and berries. Subtle and complex. Full body and a beautiful core of ripe fruit on the palate and the finish. Round, light, chewy tannins. Needs at least four or five years to open. This is the most merlot ever in Haut-Brion. Rich too. One of the wines of the vintage. 65.5% merlot, 32.5% cabernet sauvignon and 25 cabernet franc. Better in 2020.
WS 95
Wine Spectator
This combines power and refinement, with a singed alder frame around a dense core of red and black currant, plum and blackberry fruit. Notes of bay, black tea and tar line the finish. Has a lovely, fine-grained feel that lets the dark, hefty fruit drape beautifully. The tobacco element hangs in the background. Sneakily long. Best from 2018 through 2030.
WW 95
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
One of the unqualified successes of the vintage, the 2012 Château Haut-Brion possesses power that many other châteaux lack. Very deep in color, the wine's aromas and flavors of red and black fruit, earth and tar, and mineral and leaves just go on and on and on. The tannic structure suggests longevity in the bottle. (Tasted: April 8, 2016, Pessac, France)
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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.

MCA139111_2012 Item# 139111