Château Haut Brion is one of the five First Growths of the 1855 Classification of the Medoc. The Château was established in 1533 by Jean de Pontac, who was the first to plant vineyards on this prime gravelly site, found in the Graves sub-region of Pessac Leognan. The Chateau is owned today by Prince Robert of Luxembourg, the great-grandson of Clarence Dillon.
It is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, with three hectares planted to the white varieties of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Château Haut Brion is the only property outside of the Medoc in the 1855 classification. A wine of class and breed, Château Haut Brion is typically more approachable in its youth, showing floral perfume and elegance, yet possesses the structure required for exceptional longevity.
Production for the 2008 Haut-Brion represents only 35% of the grapes harvested, and while production can be over 12,000 cases in an abundant vintage, 2008 will be one of their smallest ever, with only 7,000 cases produced from a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc. The 2008 reminds me of a hypothetical blend of the 1996 and 1998. It is a classic, elegant, but substantial Haut-Brion with a dense ruby/purple color as well as crushed rock, spring flower, blueberry, and black currant characteristics presented in a vivid, vibrant, full-bodied style that cuts an ethereal feel across the palate. Haut-Brion is somewhat akin to Cheval Blanc in that it can be seemingly light on the palate, but very intense in flavor. That is the case with the 2008. There is plenty of tannin, but it is very ripe. This impressive, deep wine requires patience, and a ten year wait is mandatory. This formidable Haut-Brion should have a 40-50 year lifeline. 95-97/100 Robert Parker Jr.