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It is fun to go back and forth between the 1995 and 1996, two superb vintages for Haut-Brion. The 1995 seems to have sweeter tannin and a bit more fat and seamlessness when compared to the more structured and muscular 1996. Certainly 1995 was a vintage that the brilliant administrator Jean Delmas handled flawlessly. The result is a deep ruby/purple-colored wine with a tight but promising nose of burning wood embers intermixed with vanilla, spice box, earth, mineral, sweet cherry, black currant, plum-like fruit, medium to full body, a high level of ripe but sweet tannin, and a finish that goes on for a good 40-45 seconds. This wine is just beginning to emerge from a very closed state where it was unyielding and backward. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2035.
Sweet tobacco, blackberries and violets on the nose. Subtle. Full-bodied and very tight, with fantastic tannins and a long caressing finish. Wonderful texture. All in reserve still.
Château Haut-Brion was the first estate in Bordeaux to be known by its place and name in the 17th century. This revolutionary Château was also the first to craft “New French Claret” which the current red Bordeaux standard is now based on. Haut-Brion seamlessly combines ideal terroir, devoted ownership and effective use of technology. This is the only First Growth located in Pessac-Leognan and remains the benchmark of quality throughout the region. 120 acres are devoted to reds producing 10,000 to 12,000 cases and less than 10 acres are allocated to whites for a smaller range of 650 to 850 cases. Optimum rootstock and clones are used, harvest is done by hand, and the wines are internationally celebrated for balance, complexity, cigar-box, currant fruit and cassis. Here’s to the voluptuous, ageable wines of an incredible and historic First Growth.
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