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Château Haut-Marbuzet


Address: 33180 St Estèphe

Telephone: +33 (0)5 56 59 30 54

Château Haut-Marbuzet, run with passion by Henri Duboscq and his sons, has an extraordinary reputation for exotically ripe wines. US critic Robert Parker has championed Haut-Marbuzet for twenty plus years. The wine trades now at the price of the classed growths. Rich and ripe, it is at its most enthusiastic in its youth but it does age well. Three bottles of the 1978 vintage I bought in the early 1980s matured superbly and the 1975 remains one of the more attractive and easy to drink wines of that tough old vintage. In the big ripe years Château Haut Marbuzet almost verges on a ‘super’ Tuscan Cabernet/Merlot style. Unlike many properties in the region Haut-Marbuzet does cellar door sales and Bruno Duboscq is always welcoming to visitors without an appointment. If only other châteaux were so tourist friendly…

Vineyard/Terroir: 71 hectares planted with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Vineyard faces the river on gravel with clay with a slope towards the river. Late picked vintages to push the ripeness to the maxium.

Winemaking/Elévage: Three week temperature controlled fermentation and maceration followed by ageing in oak barrels, 100% which are new each year.

Tasting notes:

  • 2015 Deep and saturated look; vibrant purple at the edge; ripe and attractive; nice purity; blackcurrants and black plums; little chocolate; nicely ripe without being exaggeratedly so; plump on the palate with nice acidity and freshness; lots of matter but good freshness; nice length but real vibrancy on the end – and the fruit has totally soaked up the oak as far as I can see. Interesting and vibrant. Elegance too. Harvest spanned September 15 to October 12. [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, 100% new oak, 13.5% alc]. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted at Haut-Marbuzet 4/4/16. 90-92
  • 2014 Nice depth of colour; lovely aromatics; tobacco; ripe black fruits; very full and developing well; spices and herbs; [influence of the Petit Verdot]; bold and big; lots of guts and flavour; this wine needs 5 years but will sing; drinking almost nicely now; big wine this. 2014 a great vintage for St Estèphe. [ 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 18 months in 100% new oak. 14% alc]. Tasted 4/4/16 at Haut-Marbuzet. 93+
  • 2013 Lighter red; some acetone; vanilla and tea from the oak; almost Italinate – Brunello-ish; some black fruits beneath; quite elegant and easy; no hard edges and drinking well already; light but remarkable that anyone made anything decent in 2013…some depth on the end; little tobacco. Works well for the vintage. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 13% alc, 11 months in 80% new oak]. Tasted 4/4/16 at Haut-Marbuzet. 87 [Earlier note] Mid depth; purple edge; fresh aromatics; blackcurrants and fruit pastel notes; fruity; sappy and fresh palate with quite cool [but not herbaceous] tones; elegant Haut-Marbuzet with good-ish length. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted 4/4/14 at Haut-Marbuzet. 85-87
  • 2012 Deep and saturated look; perfume, some cherry; quite lush; little compact on the palate; fresh style; less impressive than Chateau Meyney tasted immediately before; lean for Haut-Marbuzet. 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot. Tasted at Chateau Haut Marbuzet April 11, 2013. 86-88 Drink 2018-2025
  • 2011 Dense colour; purple edge; deep briary and blackcurrant nose; earthy; some violet lift; little capsicum; some meat, savoury tones; attractive; big and full palate; lots of earthy blackcurrant fruit and cassis; bluer and cooler fruit tones than usual here; little raw on the finish but plenty of guts. More obvious structure but loots of oomph. 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot 5% Cabernet Franc 13.3 alc 87-89 Tasted Apr ’12 at the Chateau Drink 2018-2025
  • 2010 Deep, arterial, very dense; lots of cherry and dark fruits, very ripe blackcurrants; very sweet entry, ripe, blackcurrants and cherries; lovely mouthfeel; creamy; real density, full bodied with ripe tannin. Structure is here too; chew and extract. Meaty and powerful yet retains some freshness. Tasted Apr ’11. Excellent. 91-93+/100
  • 2009 Deep and dark; very ripe and pure; lots of chocolate; very concentrated; mulberry, tar, liquorice; very full and with ripe round tannins. Already drinkable; great length. Lots of extract and material. 13.8% alcohol, Bruno Duboscq reckons this is the richest wine they have ever produced. Terrific. 93+/100.  50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. Tasted 1st April ‘10 at the Chateau. Drink now – 2030+
  • 2008 Deep black red; exotic nose of ripe fruit, oak – almost like Grand Cru Burgundy from say Dujac! Palate dense with lots of fruit. Less super ripe than 2009 but more typical and settled with more life and acid. Good finish, lots of extract and ripe tannins. Excellent. 90+/100
  • 2007 Deep red; central core dark; vanilla, spices, olive tapenade notes along with earthy maturing notes of tobacco; depth to the palate; one of the better 2007s in my opinion; this will still improve further and drink well for the next five years I’d imagine; good effort! 88+ May 5, 2016. [Earlier note] Deepish red; initially earthy, mature notes, opened up to reveal black fruits, coffee and a savoury meaty edge; mid weight palate with good extract and grip; pretty good for the vintage 87/100 8 April 2011
  • 2005 Mid red; some depth; legs; initially some VA lift here; brooding meaty quality at first; later almost super Tuscan notes of extremely ripe fruit surrounded by oak, rich and concentrated; this wine has a  fat palate with lots of ripe fruit, tar, chocolate and lashings of oak; very full style. Lots of extract. Felt a little heavy in comparison with the Ormes de Pez in the same year but a more concentrated wine. Tasted June ’10. 88+/100 Drink now – 2020
  • 1996 Deep colour; nose full of fruit and oak; oak tannins and extracted fruit on palate; very big, prunes, tar etc. 90/100 Oct ‘06. Drink now
  • 1993 Dark; rich and ripe with lots of oak; oak dominates the palate. Ripe. 86/100 ‘Oct 95
  • 1992 Mid red; spicy, earthy nose with oak; soft. 82/100 Oct 95
  • 1986 Mid red/brown at edge; tobacco and spice, muscular and well developed. Drunk from magnum. Soft palate with similar flavours. Good finish. Fine wine. 89/100 Oct ‘04
  • 1978 Red/black, mahogany at edge; tremendously mature red bouquet; tobacco, olives, coffee with some VA, palate fully mature and soft; structured, gutsy mid-palate. Good aged St Estephe. 91/100 Tasted August ‘98
  • 1975 Red brown at edge; translucent; warm, lifted spicy tobacco nose with some menthol and earth – warm, almost Rioja like but with more complexity and beef. Soft mature palate but with guts – beef and extract. Holding but just starting to tire. Drink up. 90/100 June ‘04

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