søndag 6. mai 2012
Chateau Haut Brion 1966, Graves
"Moden Bordeauxsmaking" hos Øyvind 30.4.12:
Mørk og krass, mandelessens og rustikk i stilen. Mangler sjarmen til 1970, noe undermodent og grønt. En mere klassisk jordlig Graves stil. Snev av "gammel Hermitage". Fresh og grei vin, det er tanniner igjen og den tåler nok noen år til. 90 poeng
This profile of Haut-Brion is one of the last to be added to the Bordeaux section of this site. Certainly the other first growths have long been dealt with, Latour, Lafite, Margaux and the elevated Mouton having had a presence here for several years. This delay does not reflect any lesser opinion of Haut-Brion and, in fact, on the few occasions I have encountered the wines I have frequently been wowed. Indeed, as I explained in my introduction above, it is this paucity of experience of this grand estate and her wines that has caused the delay. Of all the first growths this is the one I know least well, and this is disappointing when considering how much I have enjoyed those wines I have tasted.
Critics are fairly united in praise for Haut-Brion. Certainly, there are vintages which divide opinion, and some that receive criticism. And on occasion some will debate its position vis-à-visLa Mission Haut-Brion, a neighbouring property also under the direction of Domaine Clarence Dillon SA, with some coming down in favour of one and some the other, depending on the vintage naturally. This can be witnessed in the annualprimeur tasting of Haut-Brion which is offered in the elegantly ecclesiastical tasting room at La Mission Haut-Brion when both wines, and both their second wines (as well as the corresponding white wines) are lined up for tasting; it is only natural for tasters to rate one against the other, to pass judgement on which wine has fared best in that particular year. For me, in 2008, it was Haut-Brion, a monumental effort that provided a serious challenge for 'wine of the vintage' (a title which ultimately went to Latour in my opinion). I felt the same way about the 2007 vintage, but I know others preferred La Mission.
More ancient vintages have not, on the whole, been presented to me. The 2004 is certainly a superb effort, but it hardly counts as ancient! The 1961, however, will soon fit that bill. A wine with an excellent reputation, however, I am sorry to say the only time I encountered it the wine was suspect, perhaps the victim of poor storage. What a tragedy.
Nevertheless, although I possess an opinion based on tasting a very narrow range of vintages, I have already come to adore these wines. They are visceral, earthy yet elegant, balanced and harmonious. They take what other properties of Pessac-Léognan offer and seem to turn up the volume, offering greater intensity, depth and breadth of flavour and yet they manage to avoid caricature, remaining classically Graves, classically Bordeaux.