There is no doubt that Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion occupy two of Bordeaux’s most remarkable vineyard spots. Situated in what has become the urban sprawl of Pessac, divided between a busy main road, these two properties, Haut-Brion to one side, La Mission on the other, and the gnarled, muscular vines that surround them, are somewhat at odds in the hum drum modern setting, testament to another time and five hundred years of history. The white wines here in 2014 are sublime, for me as good as any of the great years. They represent the very heights to which dry white wine can aspire. The reds are fresh and lively, akin to 2008 but with perhaps with a little more weight.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Haut-Brion’
Tuesday’s 2014 primeurs tastings started at Château Palmer [pictured – but not in that weather – grey and drizzly] and continued with the UGC Margaux event at Château Dauzac. The wines generally showed a lot of very vivacious and attractive fruit with vibrant acidity and there was more homogeneity than usual. Palmer and Alter Ego looked good with plenty of texture and fruit. Château Margaux tasted later felt classical and proportional. Pavillon Blanc looks excellent [many of the 2014 whites are very good indeed]. Overall in Margaux there is much to compare with 2008 in terms of freshness and 2012 in terms of fruit, though more so, and at the top level 2014 appears to be better than both vintages. Tastings at the UGC event at Château Lamarque – where a large St Bernard was woofing at visitors from the ramparts of the château – were rewarding. There is a lot of fresh, juicy fruit and ripe tannin on display amongst the Haut-Médocs, and these should [hopefully] offer good value.
There is no doubt that 2010 is a great vintage in the classical sense for the reds of Pessac-Léognan. These are long-term wines, in many cases it was as if they were being woken up rather too suddenly, bleary eyed to present themselves. If 2009 screamed out coquettishly from the glass, these 2010s took much longer to assess at the same age at the MW Institute. Clearly profound wines of great depth, they still needed to be coaxed in the glass to show their qualities, and because of the remarkable gravity of fruit, you needed to spend more time than usual to get your bearings as to just how [incredibly] good many were. Château Haut-Bailly and Château La Mission Haut-Brion were tops for me – Haut-Bailly is an absolutely stellar effort. Château Haut-Brion vies with an extremely impressive Château Smith Haut Lafitte. Domaine de Chevalier and Château Bouscaut are both gorgeous, while Château de Fieuzal, Château Malartic-Lagravière and Château Carbonnieux [tasted separately] are concentrated and dense.
The white wine harvest is already well underway in Bordeaux [see here white grapes sorted at Château Carbonnieux] and the early signs are promising. After a string of dreary vintages culminating in the washout 2013 harvest, Bordeaux has been blessed with a sunny early September and those properties in Pessac-Léognan that have begun picking the white varieties [Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris] seem happy at this stage. The weather still needs to hold fair for the harvest of the red varieties, Merlot at the end of the month and Cabernet perhaps at the beginning of October. But with healthy fruit and good anthocyanin levels in the grapes, there’s an air of optimism about the 2014 vintage that seems encouraging at this stage. More sun and warm temperatures are forecast, though there will be some moisture about later in the week.