2014 Haut Brion

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Average critic rating : 96.13 points



One of the stars of the vintage, the 2014 Haut-Brion is an exceptionally beautiful and vivid wine. Super-ripe dark cherry, plum, tobacco and menthol are some of the notes that run through the 2014. Just as it did from barrel, the 2014 boasts tons of opulence, intensity and richness. Dried flowers, tobacco, menthol, licorice and smoke wrap around the huge, baritone-inflected finish. Readers should not be in any rush with the 2014, as it is likely to require a number of years before it even starts to drink well. The blend is 50 % Merlot, 39 % Cabernet Sauvignon and 11 % Cabernet Franc. Feb 2017, www.vinous.com, Drink: 2026-2054



The Chƒteau Haut-Brion 2014 is a blend of 50% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 39% Cabernet Sauvignon picked between 11 September and 10 October cropped at 42.9 hectoliters per hectare raised in 70% new oak (Jean-Philippe Delmas has been lowering the new oak in recent vintages.) The fruit seems a little ?redder? than La Mission at this stage with vibrant wild strawberry, blackcurrant and a pinch of dry tobacco, a hint of menthol developing with time in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, that tobacco element becoming a little stronger in the mouth, a little foursquare but like La Mission Haut-Brion, focusing upon precision rather than power. Of course, a superb contribution to the vintage, but I'd place my bets on the "Mish", at least on these barrel tastings.



Beautifully perfumed with rose petals, violets and currant bush. Full body, very silky tannins and bright acidity. Tannins are super fine-grained. Goes on for minutes. Racy and refined. Persistent. Drink in 2025. Feb 2017, www.jamessuckling.com



Features a youthfully muscular edge, but remains elegant despite the heft, with a core of plum, red currant and raspberry fruit, guided by supple tannins and backed by subtle tobacco and spice hints. A light bay thread chimes in on the finish, while a juniper detail adds a pleasant underpinning. Displays admirable concentration, but this will need time to soak up its élevage, as it is always one of the more backward wines of the spring tastings. Tasted non-blind.—J.M. Wine Spectator, April 2015.

Graphs indicate market price trends as calculated by FINE+RARE’s internal market making system and are for guidance only. E&OE.

Chart showing (to 24/03/2017) market price for 12x75cl standard case:

Haut Brion 2014
+£973.00     (+41.92%) Latest price:  £3,294.00
Haut Brion 2008
+£1,533.00     (+80.26%) Latest price:  £3,443.00
Haut Brion 2004
+£2,260.00     (+208.49%) Latest price:  £3,344.00
Haut Brion 2001
+£2,523.00     (+290%) Latest price:  £3,393.00
View more charts

Haut-Brion: The Importance

Representing the epitome of quality and tradition, Château Haut-Brion in the Graves appellation of Pessac-Léognan is the oldest of all of the Bordeaux Grand Crus, and the only one of the five Premier Cru Classés of the 1855 Classification not found in the Médoc.


The winemaking at Haut-Brion has remained in the same family for close to 100 years, and Robert Parker writes of this family that “all things considered – there are probably no more experienced and talented Bordeaux wine deities than the Delmas family.” This is directly reflected in the wine produced at Haut-Brion, which is extraordinarily consistent and outstanding year upon year. Several vintages have been awarded perfect scores by Parker, with some of the best vintages produced at this estate have been 1989, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015. Praising the 2009 vintage, Parker writes that there is “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) [with] 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.”


The number of cases produced by this estate has more than halved since the 1980’s, clearly showing the estate’s growing focus of lower yields and stricter selection, and has meant that at approximately 10,000 cases a year, Haut-Brion is the rarest and most in-demand of all the first growths, and extremely popular during En Primeur campaigns.


Haut-Brion: The Insight

Haut-Brion also produces a white wine, which is regarded as one of the best and most sought-after white wines in the world. It is an almost equal blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc, and fulfils the wish of the Larrieu family who owned the estate in the 19th century, to create a dry white wine with the intensity of aromas found in a sweet wine. Of the 2012, Parker writes that it is “easily the top wine of Pessac-Léognan, [and] has extraordinary flesh and intensity, with an unctuousness and thickness that is almost hard to believe for a dry white wine. The high proportion of Semillon in this blend has given the wine an almost liquid mandarin orange note intermixed with caramelized citrus, honeysuckle, fig and crushed rock. This absolutely profound dry white wine is full-bodied and capable of lasting 40-50 years.”


Although comparisons are often drawn between Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut Brion due to the fact that they are owned by the same family and their close geographical proximity, the style of wine produced at the estates is extremely different, largely due to the fact that while Haut-Brion lies in Pessac-Léognan, the bulk of the vineyards of La Mission Haut-Brion are in Talence, which possesses different terroir and soil.


Two second wines are produced at Haut-Brion, the Clarence de Haut-Brion, which was originally called Bahans Haut-Brion and the name changed to honour the owner’s ancestor, and La Clarté de Haut-Brion, which is the second wine of both Haut-Brion Blanc and La Mission Haut-Brion’s white wine. Parker, writing about the red second wine, writes that it is “consistently one of the best second wines produced in Bordeaux and also one of my favourites.”


The vineyard at Haut-Brion is planted to 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Franc, with the final wine usually containing a higher proportion of Merlot than the other first growths, and the part of the vineyard dedicated to white grape varieties is planted to 63% Sémillon and 37% Sauvignon Blanc.


The winemaking has remained in the same family for three generations, showcasing how the expertise has been passed down from generation to generation and refined along the way. George Delmas, who had been the director at Cos d’Estournel became the director of Haut-Brion in 1923, and was joined by his son in 1961, who retired in 2004 to advise Château Montrose, handing the reigns to his son Jean-Philippe.


Haut-Brion: The Background

Although evidence of wine-growing on the land that now makes up Château Haut-Brion can be found going back to 1426, the estate as we know it now came into existence when construction for the château began in 1549, although wine had been regularly produced at this estate since 1521.The first reference to Haut-Brion in the press can be found in a document that is considered the first official review of any wine, when in April 1663, Samuel Pepys wrote following a tasting of Haut-Brion that he had “drank a sort of French wine called Ho-Bryan that hath a good and most particular taste I never met with.”


In 1935, the estate was purchased by a New York financier called Clarence Dillon, and has stayed in this family ever since. The estate is now owned by Clarence Dillon’s great-grandson, Robert de Luxembourg who runs it alongside his mother, the Princess of Luxembourg. This family also own the sister estate of Château La Mission Haut-Brion, as well as Château Quintus in St Émilion (formerly Château Tertre Daugay) and Clarendelle.

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