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Professional Ratings: 100 The Wine Advocate, 100 International Wine Cellar, 100 James Suckling, 98 Wine Spectator, 96 Wine Enthusiast
Region: Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
Varietal: Bordeaux Red Blends
Other Info: Collectible Wines
Style: Big & Bold
Item no. 103613
What a blockbuster effort! Atypically powerful, one day, the 2009 Haut-Brion may be considered to be the 21st century version of the 1959. It is an extraordinarily complex, concentrated effort made from a blend of 46% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Cabernet Franc with the highest alcohol ever achieved at this estate, 14.3%. Even richer than the perfect 1989, with similar technical numbers although slightly higher extract and alcohol, it offers up a sensational perfume of subtle burning embers, unsmoked cigar tobacco, charcoal, black raspberries, wet gravel, plums, figs and blueberries. There is so much going on in the aromatics that one almost hesitates to stop smelling it. However, when it hits the palate, it is hardly a letdown. This unctuously textured, full-bodied 2009 possesses low acidity along with stunning extract and remarkable clarity for a wine with a pH close to 4.0. The good news is that there are 10,500 cases of the 2009, one of the most compelling examples of Haut-Brion ever made. It requires a decade of cellaring and should last a half century or more. Readers who have loved the complexity of Haut-Brion should be prepared for a bigger, richer, more massive wine, but one that does not lose any of its prodigious aromatic attractions.
Saturated bright ruby. The deep, brooding nose is quite marked by the cabernet franc presence, opening slowly with air to offer sexy, soil-driven aromas of violet, raspberry, mocha, minerals and sweet spices. Then rich and sweet in the mouth but with outstanding minerality and enticing violet lift to the ripe red cherry, raspberry, cocoa and black pepper flavors. Offers a stunning combination of concentration, density and balance; as backward and reserved as this wine is today, it manages to come across as graceful. The endless palate-staining finish is loaded with sweet, ripe tannins and an exhilarating note of floral black pepper. This wine made me think of what a blend of the great '89 and '05 Haut-Brions might taste like.
Barrel Sample: 97-100 Points
Aromas of forest floor, currants and blueberries, with hints of fresh tobacco and sliced mushrooms. Turns to orange peel and blueberries. Full-bodied, with incredible structure. This is so powerful in tannins, yet so polished. This is the most structured Haut-Brion that I have ever tasted. This has 15% Cabernet Franc, which is more than normal and perhaps giving the wine a little more tannic structure. A monumental Haut-Brion made to age for centuries. I have never tasted a young Haut-Brion, with such spellbinding power and depth. A modern 1945 or 1961 HB? Better than the legendary 1989? Try in 2021.
This enormous young wine is among the most backward of the vintage at this early stage, with iron-clad grip holding the broad, deep core of blackberry, cassis and roasted fig notes in check for now. The finish is a torrent of dense, almost compressed layers of tobacco leaf, hot paving stone, singed bay leaf and tar that will take at least a decade to come together. This one is for the kids born in 2009. Best from 2020 through 2040.
Solid, very structured, packed with dense and dry tannins. There is a core of acidity and darkness that gives the wine a brooding, powerful character. At this stage, it seems austere although it does have the weight of fruit typical of the year.