The only one of the five first growths bearing a Pessac-Leognan appellation, Chateau Haut-Brion is one of the oldest wine estates in Bordeaux. Often regarded as an ancestor and benchmark of its classification, it was probably also the first wine estate to make and bottle wine under its own name.
The property gets its name from the hill on which its vineyards sit, where the soil comprises gravel, sand and clay. The vineyards are largely devoted to red grape varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with pockets of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, as well as white grape varieties comprising Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Harvesting is done by hand and generally by the same teams so that they develop an intimate knowledge of the vines and fruit, which allows for better quality management.
Haut-Brion boasts an illustrious past and enjoys the reputation of possibly being the inventor of modern fine wine (it was here, under Arnaud III de Pontac, that “French claret” was developed). It’s worth noting that at the watershed Judgement of Paris in 1976, the 1970 Haut-Brion vintage was ranked fourth out of 10 French and Californian red wines.
With the release of the Chateau Haut-Brion Vertical Collection collection, it is now possible to revisit some of Haut-Brion’s most iconic releases (such as the 1995, 1990, 1989 and 1982). Priced at €190,000, the collection offers one bottle of each vintage produced from 1945 to 2010 (except for 1946 when the estate did not produce one).