1996 Chateau Haut Brion

1996 Chateau Haut Brion

1996 Chateau Haut Brion

Pessac leognan, Bordeaux, France, 750ml
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While in some vintages La Mission Haut-Brion and Haut-Brion can be close in quality, that is not the case in this vintage. The 1996 Haut-Brion, a blend of 50% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Cabernet Franc is clearly on a higher plane than the La Mission. There is something much more expansive and complete on the nose: greater depth of fruit, more harmonious with scents of underbrush, tar, black olive and this bottle perhaps less "feral" than I have noticed on previous examples. The palate is very well balanced with dark cherries, sous-bois and cedar. This is one vintage where I think the Cabernet Franc plays an important role and lends more complexity. This is a 1996 that has retained and built upon beguiling fleshiness and it will continue to evolve with style and panache. Tasted July 2016.
  • Alcohol %: 13%
  • Decant Time: 30 minutes
  • Taste: Rich, Ripe red-fruit, Cedary oak, Lively acidity, Long finish
  • Food Matching: Red meat, Game, Mature cheese
  • Grape Variety: Merlot : 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon : 39%, Cabernet Franc : 11%,


Tasting note


This 1996 Chateau Haut-Brion is a wine full of contradictions. The grapes were acidic, yet produced a subtle wine. The sugar level was unusually high, but the phenolic ripeness varied among the different varieties. The Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon seemed riper than the Merlots. The wine is ample with a good structure and a pleasant harmony. It is a very good wine and will make an excellent Haut-Brion. The best wines are selected for Château Haut-Brion and placed in barrels for 18 to 20 months.

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