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.
The palate opens slowly, offering an initial citrus character, followed by wood and then, finally, wonderfully rich, but taut fruit. There is still a toast character here, with apricots and pear on top of the citrus, but it is still only just developing. In 10–15 years, it will be a magnificent wine.
A firm and serious wine, complex and complicated, one of the finest wines from 2010 vintage. It has a rich undertow of black fruits, while the tannins dominate at this stage. To add to the powerful range of flavors, the wine has an edge of severity that bodes well for its long-term future.
96–98. Barrel sample. A beautifully ripe wine that’s very dense in its character. The wine is generous and rich, while also structured. It already has delicious black plum fruit and velvet tannins. A wonderful, opulent wine that’s packed with full-throated Merlot.
For an Haut-Brion, this is huge. Every characteristic suggests power, from the dark color, through the knock-out perfumes, full of dark, brooding fruits. The flavors are black, intense and ripe. It is a delicious wine, surprisingly ready to drink. And yes, just at the end, there is a small hint of the delicacy and elegance that is true Haut-Brion.
95-97 Restrained power combine with great style and elegance in this beautiful wine. The tannins are certainly solid and serious, but then they are also sweet, dusty ripe, sustaining dense dark plum flavors and only a hint of wood.
Surprisingly lively and fresh, this is still a seriously impressive wine. The high proportion of Semillon is now coming to dominate the Sauvignon, to give a wine that is finely shaped, full of creamy flavors of wood and some white peach. In 10 years, this will still be fresh, in 15 just mature.