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    2021 En Primeur- Haut Brion

    Château Haut-Brion is the oldest of Bordeaux's five first growths, and one of the most famous wines in the world. Located in Pessac-Léognan, south of the city of Bordeaux, the château is rather far removed from its counterparts, all of which are found in the Médoc.

    The vineyards were established in the 1530s by the Pontac family, changing hands several times throughout the ensuing centuries. Historical evidence shows that Haut-Brion was drunk by King Charles II and Thomas Jefferson, and the famous London diarist Samuel Pepys was also a fan of the wine. The estate was acquired by American Francophile Clarence Dillon in 1935 and has been managed by the family since.

    Haut-Brion is notable as being the only first growth in Graves – Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild and Latour are all in Pauillac, while Château Margaux is – perhaps not surprisingly – in Margaux. Haut-Brion's red wine is its key line, comprising most of the château's output, but it is also unusual in that it has a corresponding white wine that shares the simple "Haut-Brion" name. The château's second wine has been known as La Clarence de Haut-Brion since 2007.

    A candidate for the title of wine of the vintage, the 2021 Haut-Brion unwinds in the glass with aromas of rich red and black fruit mingled with notions of cigar wrapper, licorice, black truffles, loamy soil and burning embers. Full-bodied, deep and concentrated, it's elegant and multidimensional, with superb depth at the core, lively acids and ultra-refined tannins. Combining the classical proportions of the vintages of two decades ago with the viticultural and winemaking of today, it's a timeless classic in the making, but it's difficult to find an obvious analogy with an older vintage. When pressed, Jean-Philippe Delmas suggests a superior version of the 2014 vintage, and to me, a more concentrated, serious version of the 2012 vintage also comes to mind. What is clear, however, is that this is one of the real high points of 2021. The blend is 50% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Cabernet Franc, and it attained 13.8% alcohol—a percentage point or so lower than in 2020 or 2019. 96-98 points William Kelley (WA)


    Offered En Primeur. Subject to allocation, final confirmation and remaining unsold