Chateau Haut-Brion (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2005
This is incredible on the nose, showing coffee cake, blackberry, floral, coffee bean and vanilla bean, with Chinese spices. A very complex, full-bodied red, with seamless, hyperpolished tannins that caress every millimeter of the palate. Lasts for minutes. So beautifully balanced, I'm left speechless. Is it even better than the 1989? Best after 2017. 9,080 cases made.
All mineral at first, this wine feels cloistered in a stone cellar, its profound depths of red fruit more an impression than an immediate sensual connection. That direct connection forms over the course of several days, as the brilliant energy of the wine grows increasingly apparent. It has the controlled power of a thoroughbred, naked and beautiful. The choice between Haut-Brion and La Mission is difficult in this vintage; anyone investing in one should invest in the other. This may prove the grander of the two, but that will likely be a point of debate for 50 years or more.
A big, virile wine, dominated by dark and firm tannins. The structure comes from powerful black fruits, the wood only showing as dry edge to the tannins. It’s firm, obviously destined for long aging, with initial blackberry fruits powering through the density. A stupendous wine that will last many decades.
Another profound effort from Haut-Brion, the 2005 (a 9,000-case blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc) has bulked up to the point that it is fair to compare it to the great successes of 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, and 2000. A dark ruby/purple color is followed by a nuanced, noble bouquet of blue and red fruits interwoven with wet stones, unsmoked cigar tobacco, scorched earth, and spring flowers. The wine is full-bodied, pure, and complex as well as exceptionally elegant with laser-like precision. The tannins are still serious and substantial, and in that sense, this is a completely different style of Haut-Brion than the opulent, silky-textured 1989 and 1990. As I have written before, it comes across as an improved, more concentrated and structured version of the 1995 or 1998. Patience will be required for this stunner. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2040+
Bright ruby-red. Wonderfully expressive nose combines black raspberry, mocha, hot stones, caramel and tobacco. Lush, fat and full but with terrific definition and suavity to its extravagantly dense black raspberry, stone and licorice flavors. As large-scaled as this is, it's not at all overly sweet. Expands impressively on the back half, finishing with substantial tannins that are thoroughly covered by fruit. A great vintage for Haut-Brion.