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.
There are 10,500 cases of the 2009 Haut-Brion, from a blend of 46% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 14% Cabernet Franc. For technicians, the highest ever natural alcohol, 14.3%, was achieved, with a pH of 3.9, which is about the same as the 1989 and 1990, as well as 1959. This is the kind of wine to send chills even up my spine, and I have been tasting here for nearly 30 years. An extraordinary nose of plum, blueberry, raspberry, crushed rock, and that intriguing floral as well as unsmoked cigar tobacco note (a classic sign of this terroir) is followed by a wine of creamy unctuosity reminiscent of 1989, but there is a freshness, vibrancy and precision that is historic and possibly unprecedented. Some graphite emerges as the wine sits in the glass, but the wine is very thick while at the same time precise and elegant. This is the quintessential expression of one of the greatest wine terroirs of the world. To reiterate, the good news is that there are going to be 10,500 cases of Haut-Brion in 2009, which is about 1,500 more cases than the 9,000 produced in 2005. This wine will probably need 7-8 years of cellaring when released and evolve as well as the 1959 has (which is still a perfect wine today), so we’re realistically talking 50-75 years when stored in a cool cellar.
98-100 points, Wine Advocate, 2010
A dark and brooding wine, delivering blackberry, black licorice, mahogany, subtle grilled meat and raspberry jam. Full-bodied, with layers of ripe and chewy tannins. Loads of fruit yet subtle and reserved, and a long, long finish. Super fruit, yet held back. A 2005 in the remaking, but perhaps slightly supercharged.
97-100 points, Wine Spectator
Chateau Haut Brion, at 14.3 % alcohol, was a brilliant wine. It was inky deep with intense elderberry/ cassis/ chocolaty aromas, deep set sweet fruit, smooth praline/ cassis flavours, fine dense chalky tannins and intuitive cedar/ vanillin oak. It had real percussion, freshness and vinosity. This is definitely one of the top First Growth wines.
96-99 points, Langton's
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.
100 points, Wine Advocate (December 2011)
The 2009 Haut-Brion is deep garnet colored and slightly closed and shy to begin, slowly unfurling to reveal sensuous notions of warm blackberries, plum preserves, mulberries and blackcurrant cordial with touches of star anise, mocha and damp soil. Full-bodied, taut and tightly wound in the mouth, the palate delivers mouth-coating black fruit and mineral layers with a very firm frame of ripe, grainy tannins, finishing long and earthy. This needs time!
100 points, Wine Advocate (March 2019)
Extravagant and exotic, but still lively, this is a super-concentrated and elegant wine that's already breathtaking, yet has enormous aging potential. Plenty of wet earth and mushroom character alongside the cassis and blackberry aromas. Super-long, perfectly balanced finish.
100 points, JamesSuckling.com (March 2019)
Every time I taste this I love it. What a nose with black truffles and raspberries with flowers. Insanely rich yet subtle. Full-bodied, with ultra fine tannins and a length that goes on forever. Super structured and intense. This is very closed now. Don't touch for 10 years. Made to age. This could well be better than the perfect 1989.
100 points, JamesSuckling.com (May 2012)