Château Haut Brion is one of the five First Growths of the 1855 Classification of the Medoc. The Château was established in 1533 by Jean de Pontac, who was the first to plant vineyards on this prime gravelly site, found in the Graves sub-region of Pessac Leognan. The Chateau is owned today by Prince Robert of Luxembourg, the great-grandson of Clarence Dillon.
It is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, with three hectares planted to the white varieties of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Château Haut Brion is the only property outside of the Medoc in the 1855 classification. A wine of class and breed, Château Haut Brion is typically more approachable in its youth, showing floral perfume and elegance, yet possesses the structure required for exceptional longevity.
A candidate for the title of wine of the vintage, the 2021 Haut-Brion unwinds in the glass with aromas of rich red and black fruit mingled with notions of cigar wrapper, licorice, black truffles, loamy soil and burning embers. Full-bodied, deep and concentrated, it's elegant and multidimensional, with superb depth at the core, lively acids and ultra-refined tannins. Combining the classical proportions of the vintages of two decades ago with the viticultural and winemaking of today, it's a timeless classic in the making, but it's difficult to find an obvious analogy with an older vintage. When pressed, Jean-Philippe Delmas suggests a superior version of the 2014 vintage, and to me, a more concentrated, serious version of the 2012 vintage also comes to mind. What is clear, however, is that this is one of the real high points of 2021. The blend is 50% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Cabernet Franc, and it attained 13.8% alcohol—a percentage point or so lower than in 2020 or 2019.
(96-98) points, Wine Advocate (April 2022)
The 2021 Haut-Brion has a more extravagant, charming bouquet compared directly with the La Mission at the moment, offering copious blackberry, black truffle, undergrowth and menthol scents. The palate is very well balanced, harmonious and poised, with fine-grained tannins and an almost pixelated finish. This Haut-Brion seems to have reveled in the cooler growing season, and at 13.8% alcohol, there is almost a degree less than recent vintages. Jean-Philippe Delmas has fashioned a contender for wine of the vintage.
(95-97) points, Vinous (April 2022)