1971 Haut Brion

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Average critic rating : 87.0 points



For me, the 1971 is the best Haut-Brion produced between 1966 and 1975. This fully mature 1971 has a sumptuous, sweet, ripe, earthy, richly fruity flavor, medium to full body, a big, full-intensity, spicy bouquet, and a silky, supple texture. This very stylish and delicious wine should be drunk up. Not retasted since 1982, but I suspect this wine should still be in fine condition. Apr 1982, www.robertparker.com



The 1971 Château Haut-Brion has held its chin up high, despite never being one of the best vintages of the decade. Now at 44 years of age, it has a decent, ferrous nose, remnants of black fruit, but all a bit dusty and lacking cohesion—as if the stitches have become unsewn with time. The palate is medium-bodied with moderate depth. There is not so much weight here as you would expect given the growing season, light touches of hickory and sage littering the entry, tapering gently towards an austere finish. Drink this up soon, but don't overlook its charm. Jun 2015, www.robertparker.com, Drink: 2015-2023

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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