2016 chateau haut-brion premier cru classe, pessac-leognan
Why We're Buying
If an estate receives 100-point ratings, that's a monumental achievement. At Château Haut-Brion, that's par for the course. The Premier grand cru classé property has earned seven perfect scores from wine critic Robert Parker for its red grand vin. Of the 1,000+ châteaux in France, none of them have obtained perfection more often.
As to the reds, the 2016 Haut Brion is a prodigious, legendary wine in the making, although it’s not for those seeking instant gratification. Deeper colored and more concentrated than the La Mission Haut Brion, it reveals a purple/ruby color as well as a sensational bouquet of blackcurrants, cassis, cigar tobacco, cold fireplace, violets, and lead pencil. Deep, masculine, structured, and mineral-laced, it has a stacked mid-palate, full-bodied richness, building tannins, and a firm, blockbuster styled finish that lasts for close to a minute. A wine for the ages, don’t even think about opening bottles for at least 7-8 years. It should keep for half a century. The blend in 2016 is 56% Merlot, 37.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 6.5% Cabernet Franc.
Immensely tannic, this is a great Haut-Brion, one of the finest for many years. It shows the severe side of this estate, with a dense structure to match the powerful black fruits. Rich with berry flavors and lifted by enough acidity, the wine will age for many years. Drink from 2026.
Large and in charge, this has a prodigious core of steeped plum, black currant and loganberry fruit flavors that show both compote and coulis aspects. While that steeps, this delivers a sturdy frame of roasted mesquite, smoldering tobacco and incense, surrounding a muscular spine of worn cedar and tar. Still rather backward, this will be showing well when most others from the vintage have had their day. Best from 2025 through 2045.
Stunning black fruit with plenty of forest berries in there, the whole picture cool and very delicate, also on the concentrated and highly structured palate. The tannins are very fine-grained, but decisively austere and, together with the vibrant acidity, they propel the finish out towards infinity and leave a breathtaking final impression. A blend of 56 per cent merlot, 37.5 per cent cabernet sauvignon and 6.5 per cent cabernet franc. Very long aging potential, but you could try it in 2023.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2016 Haut-Brion is blended of 56% Merlot, 37.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6.5% Cabernet Franc. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the nose is at once profound and arresting, offering drop-dead gorgeous Morello cherries, lilacs and red rose scents with a core of Black Forest cake, warm blackcurrants and blueberry preserves plus wafts of sandalwood and underbrush. Medium-bodied, the elegantly crafted palate is completely packed with intense floral, mineral and cassis-laced flavors with a firm frame of very finely pixelated tannins and seamless freshness, finishing very long and achingly stunning.
This has a little more reticence initially on the nose than La Mission, but after a few minutes the rich texture begins to reveal itself, with charcoal, tobacco, dark plum and damson fruits that are straining at the leash. It has hidden power and subtle oak toasting - this clearly feels no need to shout about its presence, but there will be plenty to discover over time. You can feel those tannins licking around your teeth, building up one layer at a time. A great wine En primeur that has settled into greatness.