Haut Brion 2005

Pessac-Leognan, First Growth

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Tasting Notes

The mineral-laced 2005 Haut Brion (56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc) is exquisite. With its elegance and finesse, it is not as powerful as La Mission, but the nobility and complexity of the aromatics, incredible fragrance (subtle smoke and blue, red, and black fruits) that persists in the glass, full-bodied mouthfeel (though very light and delicate on its feet), and incredible length characterize this great Haut-Brion. It is just starting to drink well, and should continue to do so for at least another three decades. It is a tour de force in winemaking, but only 9,000 cases were produced.

Score: 100

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com Maturity: 2015-2045 01 June 2015

Another profound effort from Haut-Brion, the 2005 (a 9,000-case blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc) has bulked up to the point that it is fair to compare it to the great successes of 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, and 2000. A dark ruby/purple color is followed by a nuanced, noble bouquet of blue and red fruits interwoven with wet stones, unsmoked cigar tobacco, scorched earth, and spring flowers. The wine is full-bodied, pure, and complex as well as exceptionally elegant with laser-like precision. The tannins are still serious and substantial, and in that sense, this is a completely different style of Haut-Brion than the opulent, silky-textured 1989 and 1990. As I have written before, it comes across as an improved, more concentrated and structured version of the 1995 or 1998. Patience will be required for this stunner.

Score: 98

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com Maturity: 2017-2040+ 30 April 2008

The 2005 Haut-Brion is another wine that has put on weight over the last year. While I still believe the 1989 is the great classic, it is difficult not to admire the architectural structure and seriousness of this extraordinarily elegant effort. A blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon (which came in around 14% natural alcohol), 39% Merlot (over 13% natural alcohol), and 5% Cabernet Franc, only 9,000 cases were produced in this vintage, significantly less than in other great years such as 2000 or 1998. It appears to be a big, bulked-up version of the 1996 or 1995. While almost primordial in its denseness, richness, and body, it retains its elegance and surreal nose of flowers, cherries, pain grille, crushed rocks, flowers, and ripe fruit. Powerful, dense, and in need of a decade of cellaring, this will be a 30 to 40-year Haut-Brion that should end up being a modern day version of the 1955. Although closed at present, it is enormously impressive, and is a treat to taste next to the more flamboyant La Mission Haut-Brion.

Score: 96 - 100

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com Maturity: 2015-2040+ 30 April 2007

The 2005 Haut-Brion is an extraordinarily broad, rich, full-bodied effort boasting huge aromas of scorched earth, plum sauce, sweet cherries, black currants, and a hint of toasty oak. The wine possesses huge tannins, which is somewhat deceptive given its viscosity and opulence. Despite its intensity, Haut-Brion is always a model of elegance and symmetry. The profound 2005, which will undoubtedly shut down after bottling, should be less seductive in its youth than either the 1989 or 1990, but it will be incredibly long-lived. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2040+.

Score: 96 - 100

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com Maturity: 2012-2040 30 April 2006

The Château Haut-Brion 2005, which unlike the rest of the First Growth was tasted from magnum, has a more audacious and sensual bouquet compared to the La Mission Haut-Brion with copious black cherries, cooked meat, mint and wild heather scents. You could sit and nose this all day. The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannins. The harmony will leave you breathless. It is underpinned by nigh perfect acidity and astounding weight. Yet it does not overwhelm and remains faithfully classic in style. It is difficult to fault this Haut Brion and do not be surprised if it one day ends up joining the ranks of the 1961, 1989 or 2000. (98+)

Score: 98

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com Maturity: 2020-2060 09 February 2015

Tasted single blind at Southwold. This is relatively subdued on the nose. Very closed: black fruits, a touch of black olives, bacon fat and game. Complex but broody and sullen. The palate has a rich, opulent entry with thick chewy tannins, again massive grip in the mouth. A lot of oak at the moment but there is more than enough fruit intensity here to balance it up. Breathtaking purity and definition, a tangible sense of minerality. I think decanting would improve the aromatics, because the palate has it all, and some. I wish I had longer with this, you can see it awakening in the glass. Do not touch this for another ten years. Drink 2018-2050+ Tasted January 2009. (97+ Points)

Score: 97

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com Maturity: 2018-2050+ 01 January 1900

This is a wine that makes you dream. The nose is packed with flowers, sweet tobacco, iodine, spices, raspberries, blackberries, and great freshness. The texture is perfection, pure silk and the fruit is wonderfully complex and subtle. Currants, fresh mushrooms, flowers, and stones fill the mouth and make way to a delightful finish. Please leave this alone until 2020.

Score: 100

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com Maturity: 2020+ 28 April 2011

This is incredible on the nose, showing coffee cake, blackberry, floral, coffee bean and vanilla bean, with Chinese spices. A very complex, full-bodied red, with seamless, hyperpolished tannins that caress every millimeter of the palate. Lasts for minutes. So beautifully balanced, I'm left speechless. Is it even better than the 1989? Best after 2017. 9,080 cases made.

Score: 100

James Suckling, Wine Spectator Maturity: 2017+ 31 March 2008

Superdark for Haut-Brion. The nose is mindblowing. Exotic. Like a bouquet of flowers with raspberries and currants as well as Chinese spices and fruits. Hints of new wood. Full-bodied, with ultrarefined tannins and great length--goes on and on. This is on its way to 100 points. Better than 89-91.

Score: 95 - 100

James Suckling, Wine Spectator 01 April 2006

Bright ruby-red. Wonderfully expressive nose combines black raspberry, mocha, hot stones, caramel and tobacco. Lush, fat and full but with terrific definition and suavity to its extravagantly dense black raspberry, stone and licorice flavors. As large-scaled as this is, it's not at all overly sweet. Expands impressively on the back half, finishing with substantial tannins that are thoroughly covered by fruit. A great vintage for Haut-Brion.

Score: 97

Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar 01 May 2008

This historically great estate has done it again, producing one of its greatest ever wines without a doubt. 56% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon and 55 Cabernet Franc. Glossy, very dark ruby colour. Wonderfully intense and lifted nose with intense smoke and tar and earth. Beautiful Graves character is followed through on the palate with mineral undercurrents, tobacco and intense, penetrating fruit. An enormous wine that opens out wonderfully in the mouth revealing still more complexity and layers. Purity and power without force. It continues to unfurl and expand with every second on the very long and harmonious finish. Truly magnificent. This is everything you could wish for - the quintessential Haut Brion and a Bordeaux legend.

Score: -

Albany Vintners, - 10 April 2006

56% M 39% CS, 5% CF (45% grand vin). Very very dark crimson with maroon rim. Truly great, very savoury, appetising absolutely classic, true Haut-Brion scents of minerals as a grace note on extraordinary ripeness without fatness. Bravissimo! What delicacy with power! There is masses and masses dug in underneath here - weight and tannin and dryness on the finish but it’s all covered with a fine cashmere blanket. A tiny bit of heat on the end? Extraordinary fan of flavours. Great lift and precision and then length. Absolutely no sweetness - what a contrast to many of yesterday’s St-Emilions! You wouldn’t think they were at all in the same region.

Score: 19

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com Maturity: 2018-2040 10 April 2006