|Subregion||France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pessac-Léognan|
Without doubt one of the world's greatest and most individual wine estates. The family traditions continue here with Jean-Philippe Delmas running the wine-making as his father and grandfather did before him and Clarence Dillon's great-grandson Robert de Luxembourg in overall charge of this wonderful property. Haut Brion is one of the most consistently great wines of Bordeaux. Since 1958 it has been bottled in the unique and iconic Haut Brion bottle. Situated in the suburbs of the city of Bordeaux, the 48 hectares of red grape varieties are planted with 45% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The second wine used to be known as "Bahans Haut Brion" but is now called "Clarence Haut Brion". Under the same ownership is neighbour La Mission Haut Brion and Quintus in St Emilion.
2022 is the 99th consecucutive vintage made by a Delmas (Jean-Philippe's grandfather started in 2023 and his father took over in 1961). This was the 2nd earliest harvest here ever (after 2003) with the first red grapes picked on August 29th. 54% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc. Yield 32 hl/ha (compared to 48 last year). Ageing in 63% new oak. Alcohol 14.45%. For Jean-Philippe, this has the freshness of the 1988, the opulence of the 1989 and the ripe tannins of the 1990.
The 2022 Haut-Brion, matured in 70% new oak, represents the 99th vintage under three generations of the Delmas family (see my recently published book for a remarkable photo of the first). It has slightly darker fruit than the La Mission at the moment. Incense and potpourri infuse the black plum and bilberry. There's a touch of brine in the background. It manifests more and more complexity as it opens in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied and is blessed with unerring symmetry. It has a bewitching granular texture, complex and more focused than recent vintages, and comes across as almost pixelated on the finish. Quintessential Haut-Brion. Magnificent, but not necessarily the best wine that Delmas oversaw in this vintage. 2030-2065
The 2022 Haut-Brion shows considerable promise, revealing aromas of dark berries and plums mingled with notions of pencil lead, licorice, tobacco leaf, spices and incense. Full-bodied, broad and seamless, it's rich and muscular, with a deep, layered core of fruit framed by an ample endowment of tannin. This blend of 53.6% Merlot, 35.4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Cabernet Franc, the result is a lip-smacking exemplification of controlled power. Analytically, the 2022 possesses a similar level of tannins to the 2010, and a similar pH to the 2009, yet it is more suave and polished than the 2010 at the same stage, and seemingly more dynamic than the 2009.
deep in colour with an exotic, ripe, hedonistic nose of espresso, incense, cassis and kirsch. There is a hint of tobacco and menthol to keep everything in check. The palate has real density, with focused if ripe black fruit at the core. Gripping into a tighter coil than its stablemate La Mission, this is a dark, brooding, heady Haut Brion. Wood smoke, briary fruit and liquorice build onto an intense, ripe, smoky and warming finish.
Currants and cedar with sandalwood and peaches. Fascinating aromas. Violets. Full-bodied with a crunchy and electric palate of primary fruit, with hints of tangerines and citrus. Great finish with structure and polish. 53.6% merlot, 35.4% cabernet sauvignon and 11% cabernet franc. Interesting to have such high merlot in the blend.
Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2022 Haut-Brion is a blend of 53.6% Merlot, 35.4% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 11% Cabernet Franc aging in 62.9% new oak. The nose is typically closed and broody, requiring a lot of shaking to wake up enticing notes of iron ore, red roses, lavender, mint tea, and forest floor, leading to a tantalizing core of plum preserves and blueberry pie. The medium to full-bodied palate is very tightly knit with vibrant black and blue fruit layers and red berry sparks, framed by very fine-grained tannins and a refreshing backbone, finishing long and minerally. A classic, breath-taking expression of Haut-Brion, I expect this to remain shy and restrained for the first 10 years so in bottle, and then watch it soar.
Stately, inky colour, this is impressively vivid and energetic despite the intensity of the construction. Fresh fig character, black chocoate, cinnammon, turmeric, creamy bilberry and blackberry fruits, with clove and sandalwood spice, and a slow build of texture and contrast from the slate tannins as they draw out the flavours. Harvest August 29-19 September. 3.9ph. Less Cabernet Sauvignon than usual due to tiny yields,
53.6% Merlot, 35.4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc. Cask sample.
Hallmark Haut-Brion opulence of texture. Powerful tannic frame behind. Lovely depth of fruit. Dark- and red-fruit notes with a touch of liquorice as it opens. Complex, powerful and persistent with enough freshness to provide balance. (JL)
Drink 2034– 2055