chateau haut-brion premier cru classe, pessac-leognan 2020
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2020 Haut-Brion is a blend of 42.8% Merlot, 39.7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17.5% Cabernet Franc, harvested from 7th to 29th September, with an estimated alcohol of 15% and a pH of 3.8. Opaque purple-black colored, it leaps from the glass with a first wave of vibrant black raspberries, ripe blackberries and mulberries scents, followed by a powerful core of warm cassis, dark chocolate and violets, before bursting into an array of crushed rocks, iron ore, tree bark and black truffles notes. The concentrated, densely packed, full-bodied palate is not in the least bit heavy, delivering a refreshing backbone of red berry and dried herbs suggestions, framed by seamless acidity and very finely grained tannins, finishing on an epically long, fragrant earth note. Simply stunning. Barrel Sample: 98-100
This is a superb Haut-Brion with incredible tannins that are wonderfully fine-grained. It’s really powerful. This is very primary with so much grape-generated tannin structure. Very, very long, going on for minutes. Seductive and friendly at the start and then takes you on at the finish with so much structure. Wine of the vintage? Barrel Sample: 99-100
The 2020 Haut-Brion is shaping up to be one of the wines of the year. Substance, depth and textural intensity elevate Haut-Brion into the realm of the sublime in 2020. All the elements are so wonderfully balanced. Inky dark fruit, gravel, lavender, violet and dark spice build as the 2020 gradually opens with some aeration. Wow.
Unquestionably one of the top wines in this impressive vintage, the 2020 Château Haut-Brion checks in as 42.8% Merlot, 39.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance Cabernet Franc, all of which will spend 15-18 months in 77% new French oak. Its deep purple color is followed by a thrilling nose of mineral-laced blackcurrants, black raspberries, toast, spice, scorched earth, and graphite. Possessing an almost Lafite-like elegance on the palate, it nevertheless has huge dry extract, full-bodied richness, flawless balance, and beautiful tannins. Per the spec sheet, the alcohol is an estimated 15% with a pH of 3.78, so it’s no shrinking violet, yet it never shows a hint of headiness or being over the top. I finished my note with “Where can I buy some?” I suspect this wine will require a solid decade to hit the early stages of maturity and will be a 30-, 40-, or possibly a 50-year wine.
Concentrated, powerful and precise; this takes a grip and holds on, layers of licorice, grilled coffee bean, chocolate, blackcurrant pastille, cassis bud and a more steely wet stone edge that gives a much needed balance to the richness of the overall feel of this wine. Gunsmoke curls out of the glass after half an hour - this is going to need serious ageing, impressive and powerful stuff.