1921 Haut Brion

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Average critic rating : 87.0 points



The 1921 Haut-Brion possessed a dense, impressive color, extremely high tannin levels, and an old, sweaty, leathery, locker-room nose with vague coffee and chocolatey, roasted herb-like flavors. The astringent tannin gave the wine a coarse and disjointed personality.||Other than a handful of 1921s that ranged from several surprisingly strong examples of Montrose, to old, decrepit bottles of Cheval Blanc, this great vintage has largely escaped my palate. But to paraphrase the late A.J. Liebling, "if you can't afford them, then it's nice to know someone who can." 1921 was one of those extremely hot Bordeaux growing seasons (more recently 1947, 1949, 1959, 1982, 1989, and 1990 have enjoyed similar summers and harvests). Because of high alcohol, low acidity, and a certain fragility to the wines, the vintage has always been considered to be very great, but short-lived.. This flight represented an extraordinary, once in a lifetime opportunity to look at some of that vintage's greatest wines - all purchased from private cellars in Europe in pristine condition. Only the Gruaud Larose had been recorked.||The notes for this wine are taken from the description of Series V - Flight B of the 1995 tasting conducted in Munich by Helga and Hardy Rodenstock. Many years after the tasting from which this note derives allegations were made concerning the authenticity of old and rare bottles of wine sold by Hardy Rodenstock to collectors around the world. The matter has been the subject of numerous articles, litigation and at least one book. Mr. Parker believes that the wines served to him at this tasting were authentic so this note and the others from that specific tasting continue to be posted on eRobertParker.com. Wine Advocate.February, 1996

Barely outside the city of Bordeaux, nestled in the suburbs of Pessac-Léognan, lies one of Bordeaux’s great wines, Ch. Haut-Brion. Of the five first growths of Bordeaux, Haut-Brion is the connoisseurs’ grand vin. Indeed, ask anyone lucky enough to regularly drink first growth claret what their favourite one is and the answer will almost invariably be Haut-Brion.

Both red and white wines are made at Haut-Brion. The red vineyards are planted to 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Franc. The white, one of the World’s finest white white wines, is roughly 63% Semillon and 37% Sauvignon Blanc. Two second wines are made: the red is Le Clarence de Ch. Haut-Brion ; the white is La Clarté de Haut-Brion Blanc . The red was known as Bahans Haut Brion up to 2006.

The high content of Merlot relative to its first growth peers is one of the factors that set Haut-Brion apart, as is its size. With an annual production of around 10,000 cases of the grand vin, this is the rarest of the first growths, and with up to 50% Merlot in the final blend it is often the most voluptuous. Sister property La Mission Haut-Brion is situated just across the road and, whilst not classified as such, often produced wines of first growth quality.

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