2015 Chateau Haut Brion
Double 100 Points
Château la Mission Haut-Brion is a Bordeaux wine from the Pessac-Léognan appellation, classed among the Crus Classés in the Graves classification of 1953. The winery, located in close vicinity of the city of Bordeaux, belongs to the wine region Graves, in the commune of Talence with additional property in Pessac.
The château also produces a second wine from younger vines, La Chapelle de la Mission, since the 1991 vintage, and the dry white wine Château La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc since the 2010 merger of Château Laville Haut-Brion.
American wine critic Robert Parker awarded the maximum one hundred points for the 2000 La Mission Haut Brion, making it six occasions Parker has given the estate this score. Jancis Robinson, MW describes La Mission as "the quintessential insider's wine" while David Peppercorn, MW holds the estate's consistent performance over the last century as justification to classify La Mission as a Premier Cru, as was done to Château Mouton Rothschild in 1973. In 2009, the Liv-ex Bordeaux Classification considered Château La Mission Haut-Brion as a potential First Growth along with Château Mouton Rothschild and the four estates classified in 1855: Château Haut-Brion, Château Margaux, Château
Very beautiful, deep, garnet-red colour. The nose is ripe and concentrated. After swirling in the glass, it becomes more complex with hints of very ripe – but not excessively so – red and black fruit. There are also liquorice nuances and a soupçon of clove. The wine starts out with a very soft mouth feel and immediately shows tremendous volume and depth in every respect, with flavours reminiscent of ripe fruit and cocoa beans. The long aftertaste features mocha and slightly bitter coffee nuances. Barrel ageing will undoubtedly bring out more of this wine’s greatness and confirm its place among the finest vintages of Château Haut-Brion. Elegant and complex, Château Haut-Brion red presents mineral aromas and a unique complexity. Its strength lays in the finish, which is surprisingly long. This aromatic persistence is due to its very noble origins.
The year 2015 appears to be the warmest and sunniest, throughout our country, since the beginning of meteorological statistics. A long heat wave and dry period allowed to achieve excellent flowering conditions until the arrival, in August, of miraculous rains.This rain enabled the vines to maintain the necessary water reserves and to provide requisite nourishment for perfect ripeness. The harvest began in September under a clear blue sky. Thanks to this ideal weather, we were able to wait for optimum ripeness for each grape variety. All the conditions are there to allow 2015 to join the greatest vintages of Bordeaux.
Château Haut-Brion is the oldest of Bordeaux's five first growths, and one of the most famous wines in the world. Located in Pessac-Léognan, south of the city of Bordeaux, the château is rather far removed from its counterparts, all of which are found in the Médoc.
The vineyards were established in the 1530s by the Pontac family, changing hands several times throughout the ensuing centuries. Historical evidence shows that Haut-Brion was drunk by King Charles II and Thomas Jefferson, and the famous London diarist Samuel Pepys was also a fan of the wine.
The estate was acquired by American Francophile Clarence Dillon in 1935 and has been managed by the family since.
Haut-Brion is notable as being the only first growth in the Graves region south of Bordeaux city – Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild and Latour are all in Pauillac, while Château Margaux is – unsurprisingly – in Margaux.
Haut-Brion's red wine, also known as the "grand vin" is its key line, comprising most of the château's output. However, it is also unusual in the classified growths that it has a corresponding white wine that shares the simple Haut-Brion name (although this is far from unusual for estates in the Graves and Pessac-Léognan, which regularly produce both red and white wines) and is often dubbed "Haut-Brion blanc", even by English-speakers.
The majority of the estate's 51 hectares (126 acres) of vineyard is planted to red varieties with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot covering 48 hectares (118 acres) while three hectares (7.5 acres) are given over to Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.
The château's second wine has been known as La Clarence de Haut-Brion since 2007.
The Haut-Brion cuvée tends to have more Merlot than the wines from the Medoc, with Cabernet Sauvignon in more of a supporting role (this is reflected in the vineyard). As such, Haut-Brion is more rounded and softer than other Left Bank wines. The château describes the wine as having an empyreumatic (charred organic matter) bouquet.
The property is on the outskirts of Bordeaux, and is now surrounded by encroaching buildings and roads. It is also flanked by La Mission Haut-Brion, which was bought by Haut-Brion's owners in the early 1980s.
The Dillon family also own several other Bordeaux estates, the most famous of which is Château Quintus, a Saint-Emilion Grand Cru (formerly Château Tertre-Daugay).
100 points Jeb Dunnuck
The 2015 Haut Brion is a perfect wine that couldn’t be any better and is certainly at the top of this great vintage. A blend of 50% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance Cabernet Franc, this full-bodied, concentrated, backward, yet sensationally pure 2015 boast knockout notes of blackcurrants, smoked tobacco, ground herbs, and graphite, with a terrific damp earth/minerality quality emerging with time in the glass. Straight, focused, and built like a skyscraper, with a stacked mid-palate, forget bottles for 7-8 years and enjoy over the following three to four decades. (11/2017)
100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A blend of 50% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, the medium to deep garnet-purple colored 2015 Haut-Brion is reticent to begin, languidly revealing crushed black cherries, ripe black plums and wild blueberries with sparks of cinnamon stick, cloves, nutmeg, espresso, unsmoked cigars, tapenade, crushed rocks and lavender. The full-bodied palate possesses wonderfully complementary contrasts of bold black and blue fruit richness and delicately nuanced cherry fruit, baking spices and floral accents, strutting ripe, finely pixelated tannins and seamless acidity that is placed firmly in the background, finishing very long and with plenty of attitude. This impeccably poised, exquisitely perfumed 2015 Haut-Brion possesses the most alluring yet seemingly effortless beauty. While it bears only a passing resemblance in its opulent personality to the now legendary 1989, like that vintage the 2015 cannot fail to hedonically satiate and intellectually edify all lovers of great Bordeaux who drink it. What’s more, it also has the blue-blooded tenaciousness to remain this jaw-droppingly impressive, throughout its many guises over time, and for a very, very long time. (LPB) (2/2018)