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.
The 2020 Haut-Brion is shaping up to be one of the wines of the year. Substance, depth and textural intensity elevate Haut-Brion into the realm of the sublime in 2020. All the elements are so wonderfully balanced. Inky dark fruit, gravel, lavender, violet and dark spice build as the 2020 gradually opens with some aeration. Wow.
(97-99) points, Vinous (June 2021)
This is a superb Haut-Brion with incredible tannins that are wonderfully fine-grained. It’s really powerful. This is very primary with so much grape-generated tannin structure. Very, very long, going on for minutes. Seductive and friendly at the start and then takes you on at the finish with so much structure. Wine of the vintage?
(99-100) points, JamesSuckling.com (May 2021)
The 2020 Haut-Brion is a blend of 42.8% Merlot, 39.7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17.5% Cabernet Franc, harvested from 7th to 29th September, with an estimated alcohol of 15% and a pH of 3.8. Opaque purple-black colored, it leaps from the glass with a first wave of vibrant black raspberries, ripe blackberries and mulberries scents, followed by a powerful core of warm cassis, dark chocolate and violets, before bursting into an array of crushed rocks, iron ore, tree bark and black truffles notes. The concentrated, densely packed, full-bodied palate is not in the least bit heavy, delivering a refreshing backbone of red berry and dried herbs suggestions, framed by seamless acidity and very finely grained tannins, finishing on an epically long, fragrant earth note. Simply stunning.
(98-100) points, Wine Advocate (May 2021)
The 2020 Haut-Brion was picked September 7–29. It has a more opulent, more precocious bouquet compared directly with its neighbor across the road, resplendent with layers of black cherry, wild strawberry, black olives and a touch of inkwell. Perhaps it displays slightly less mineralité compared to La Mission Haut-Brion? The palate is medium-bodied with pliant tannins and a disarming satiny texture matched by a perfect line of acidity. It builds beautifully in the glass, and yet as I constantly return to the La Mission, it does not possess quite the same thrilling tension and pixelation. This is still a magnificent, bold and almost audacious Haut-Brion and I am intrigued to see how it develops in barrel.
(96-98) points, Vinous (May 2021)
Full, distinctive, embossed bottle 1,305 g. Cask sample taken 12 April. 42.8% Merlot, 39.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17.5% Cabernet Franc. Estimated alcohol 15%. Picked from 7 to 29 September.
More obviously aromatic and lifted than the second wine, Le Clarence de Haut-Brion. Intensely seductive nose in fact. Very savoury, tobacco-leaf palate entry and then quite a tingle. Acidity is a feature of the finish. Very muscular indeed but clearly with more flesh and less obvious tannin than La Mission 2020. Almost juicy. Too early for much of the 'warm bricks' nose to have developed, I assume. Long and emphatic with a little more zest than Haut-Brion often has at this early stage.
18.5 points, JancisRobinson.com (April 2021)
Concentrated, powerful and precise; this takes a grip and holds on, layers of liquorice, grilled coffee bean, chocolate, blackcurrant pastille, cassis bud and a more steely wet stone edge that gives a much needed balance to the richness of the overall feel of this wine. Gunsmoke curls out of the glass after half an hour - this is going to need serious ageing, impressive and powerful stuff. Harvest from 7th to 29th September. Drinking Window 2030 - 2050
96 points, Decanter (May 2021)
Unquestionably one of the top wines in this impressive vintage, the 2020 Château Haut-Brion checks in as 42.8% Merlot, 39.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance Cabernet Franc, all of which will spend 15-18 months in 77% new French oak. Its deep purple color is followed by a thrilling nose of mineral-laced blackcurrants, black raspberries, toast, spice, scorched earth, and graphite. Possessing an almost Lafite-like elegance on the palate, it nevertheless has huge dry extract, full-bodied richness, flawless balance, and beautiful tannins. Per the spec sheet, the alcohol is an estimated 15% with a pH of 3.78, so it’s no shrinking violet, yet it never shows a hint of headiness or being over the top. I finished my note with “Where can I buy some?” I suspect this wine will require a solid decade to hit the early stages of maturity and will be a 30-, 40-, or possibly a 50-year wine.
(98-100) points, JebDunnuck.com (May 2021)