The 2018 Haut-Brion is a blend of 49.4% Merlot, 38.7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11.9% Cabernet Franc, harvested September 6 to October 2. Deep purple-black in color, it is much more closed than the La Mission. It holds back for the first few minutes, reticent to reveal what slowly uncoils to give wave after wave of exotic spices—cardamom, cassis, star anise and fenugreek—over an opulent core of red roses, Black Forest cake, warm cassis and black raspberries with nuances of cigar box, crushed rocks, truffles, tilled black soil, iron ore and smoked meats. The full-bodied palate is truly profound, with restrained black fruit and spice layers slowly offering mineral sparks and savory suggestions within a rock-solid frame of firm, super fine-grained tannins and beautiful freshness, finishing with epic length and depth. This will take longer to come around than the La Mission, but it will be well worth the wait.
|Score: 97/99+||Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (April 2019), April 2019|
The length and texture to this wine is so very impressive. It’s not so much the sheer power that is impressive here, rather the form, tension and exquisite form that the abundant, fine-grained tannins provide. It lasts for minutes on the palate. A classic beauty in the making.
|Score: 98/99||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2019|
The 2018 Haut-Brion is a regal wine. Creamy, soft and inviting, the 2018 is one of the more open-knit young Haut-Brions I can remember tasting. Cedar, tobacco, smoke, licorice, grilled herbs, leather and menthol are nicely layered in the glass. In 2018, Haut-Brion is almost shockingly elegant at this very early stage. There is plenty of tannin, but it is totally woven into the wine's fabric. In 2018, the blend is 49.4% Merlot, 38.7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11.9% Cabernet Franc.
|Score: 93/96||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, May 2019|
Deepest black-cherry colour. Much more subdued on the nose than La Mission but has intense purity. Finely textured and yet dense, the freshness lifting it off the ground even with all the underlying power. Deep-rooted purity and wonderful persistence, all tied up and just with that slight rocky character that finishes dry but not drying. Impressive elegance in a powerful vintage. Firm, dry and yet so much more supple than many wines. Very slightly toasty on the finish but the oak is swallowed by the fruit.
|Score: 18||Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2019|
Very deep colour, with a dark, brooding, spicy nose of black pepper, cassis, cloves and sage. The palate is dense, concentrated and tightly wound, but with air the succulent, rich black fruit comes through. This leads to a hedonistic, ripe structure that is full bodied and mouthcoating but supremely refined with a white chocolate texture that is cut through by waves of fresh acidity. The fruit builds through the mid palate in tandem with smoky tobacco and exotic juniper and clove. The finish is long, fine and poised, yet muscular and needing time to reveal its true potential.
|Score: 18+||Farr Vintners, Farr Tasting, April 2019|
The grand vin 2018 Haut-Brion (49.4% Merlot, 38.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Cabernet Franc) is as deeply colored as its stablemate but has a darker, smoky bouquet of blackcurrants, roasted herbs, tobacco, and gravelly earth. Silky, polished, and ethereally textured on the palate, with beautiful tannins as well as mid-palate density, it's one of the most regal, classic wines in the vintage.
|Score: 97/99||Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, May 2019|
A beautiful Haut-Brion that combines generosity and elegance. It's rich, and velvety, with a vibrant ruby rim, all conveying structure and a sense of power. The flavour floods in through the mid-palate, displaying wonderfully vibrant blackberry, blueberry, slate, touches of blond tobacco, freshly cut herbs and exotic spicing. You can feel in the texture that it's a warm year, not holding back. It's powerful but elegant and unforced at the same time, with some brambled edges that give a welcome sense of acidity and a touch of bitterness.
Harvested 6 September to 2 October, yielding 44hl/ha. 3.8pH. IPT72 - the same level as 2015, but it was a little higher in 2010 and 2009.
Drinking Window 2027 - 2044
|Score: 98||Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2019|
(49.4 Merlot, 38.7 Cabernet Sauvignon, 11.9 Cabernet Franc) | 62% new oak | 14.2 – 14.4% alc | 72 IPT | Harvested between 6th September and 2nd October Like Le Clarence, Haut-Brion majors on the black fruit spectrum and it looks dark and menacing warning off all-comers. The tannins are superb here and they have none of the dryness and tart characteristics of La Mission, preferring to be super-fine and powdery. They don’t get in the way of the flow, but the fruit, while complete, is refusing to budge an inch. I can detect some serious complexity here but this is a belligerent wine and it refuses to open up in the glass. The intensity of the flavour is staggering and I venture that this will be another great Haut-Brion, but you have to be extremely patient for it to emerge from its chrysalis.
|Score: 19+||Matthew Jukes, MatthewJukes.com, April 2019|