This was one of the best showings yet for this wine, which, to my palate and mind, has never lived up to its early potential. In this tasting, the 1982 revealed a healthy dark ruby color with lightening at the edge. Intense, persistent aromas of saddle leather, roasted herbs, scorched earth, and sweet black currant fruit were followed by complex flavors of minerals, spice box, and cedar. Although this medium-bodied, fleshy, ripe, concentrated wine is not a blockbuster, as it unfolds, it reveals layers of flavor in addition to this vineyard's tell-tale complexity. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2020.
Drink now-2015 Deep crimson, watery rim. Quite light nose, but very Haut-Brion. Cigar box bouquet with lots of dry tannins at the edge. Neat, but not a standout.
Fullish, mature colour. Delicate but veryelegant nose. No great power though.Medium-full body. This is fully ready. A finebut not a great wine. Rich and plump. Stillplenty of vigour. Long, complex and classy.Fine plus.
Arguably the oldest recognised Bordeaux grand cru, Haut Brion has been owned by the American Dillon family since 1935. The Château was an early moderniser - the first estate to implement steel vats in 1961 - and over the years, their incredible investments have re-established the inherent quality of this property, enabling it to emerge as possibly the most consistent first growth since the 1980s. Second wine is Bahans Haut Brion.
Stretching from the rather unglamorous southern suburbs of Bordeaux, for 50 km along the left bank of the river Garonne, lies Graves. Named for its gravelly soil, a relic of Ice Age glaciers, this is the birthplace of claret, despatched from the Middle Ages onwards from the nearby quayside to England in vast quantities. It can feel as though Bordeaux is just about red wines, but some sensational white wines are produced in this area from a blend of sauvignon blanc, Semillon and, occasionally, muscadelle grapes, often fermented and aged in barrel. In particular, Domaine de Chevalier is renowned for its superbly complex whites, which continue to develop in bottle over decades. A premium appellation, Pessac-Leognan, was created in 1987 for the most prestigious terroirs within Graves. These are soils with exceptional drainage, made up of gravel terraces built up in layers over many millennia, and consequently thrive in mediocre vintages but are less likely to perform well in hotter years. These wines were appraised and graded in their own classification system in 1953 and updated in 1959, but, like the 1855 classification system, this should be regarded with caution and the wines must absolutely be assessed on their own current merits.