Haut Brion will take many years to reveal all of her secrets in 2017. Suckling loved the wine’s “dark-berry, chocolate and hazelnut character. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a linear and fine finish. Very refined. Elegant and balanced.”
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Composed of 53% Merlot, 40.7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6.3% Cabernet Franc, the very deep purple-black colored 2017 Haut-Brion is a little closed on the nose, revealing fresh blackberries, black currants and dark chocolate with suggestions of pencil shavings, beef drippings, tilled soil and cracked black pepper plus a waft of lavender. Medium to full-bodied, it has very firm, ripe, grainy tannins and a lively backbone structuring the tightly knit earth and black fruit layers, finishing with compelling mineral and perfumed layers.
The tannins are the secret of this bold wine granting longevity and great structure. At the same time, the ripe blackberry fruits are rich yet bright and fresh. The wine will take time to mature. Drink from 2025.
The 2017 Haut-Brion was picked from 31 August to 29 September, the longest harvest ever, matured in 69% new oak with 14.25% alcohol (lower than recent vintages.) It has a more generous bouquet than the La Mission Haut-Brion at this point: black cherries, blueberry, a little confit fruit, hints of warm gravel and clove. It is much more restrained than the previous vintages – cooler and linear. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin, nicely structured with more grip in the mouth than the La Mission. What it has in common with the aforementioned is a sense of symmetry. It feels very persistent with a light marine/oyster shell influence on the finish. This probably has the edge over the La Mission Haut-Brion at the moment, but intra-family competitiveness aside, it boils down to a great follow-up to the brilliant 2015 and 2016.
A tight and focused red with dark-berry, chocolate and hazelnut character. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a linear and fine finish. Very refined. Elegant and balanced.
The top wine, and unquestionably one of the wines of the vintage, the 2017 Haut Brion checks in as 53% Merlot, 40.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Cabernet Franc. It’s cut from the same cloth as the Le Clarence de Haut Brion, only with the intensity, richness, and structure turned up. Cold fireplace, smoked earth, black currants, and truffle notes all emerge from this medium to full-bodied, dense, concentrated and surprisingly structured 2017 that stays perfectly balanced and elegant on the palate. It doesn’t have the sheer breadth of the 2015 and 2016, yet is classic Haut Brion all the way. It should match or exceed the 2014.