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May 02, 2013

Haut Brion 2012 En Primeur

Pessac Leognan and Graves fared very well in 2012, due to their higher proportion of Merlot. The top wines have excellent mid-palates and density, with Haut Brion achieving alcohol levels close to 15% abv. This is its highest ever proportion of Merlot with over 60% in their blend. This is one of our wines of the left bank, breaking the trend of the 2012; it is rich and exuberant combining their tell-tale cigar box with brioche, pepper, sweet spices and dried raisins, creating a truly pronounced nose. On the palate it was full bodied and voluptuous. We believe Parker has underscored this wine which distinguished itself from the vintage, tasting more like a 2003 or 2006 than the cooler 2012. This wine is a superb effort and we believe Parker will be pushing 95 points from the bottle in two years time.

Haut Brion has followed Mouton Rothschild and Margaux’s lead on price, providing a strong incentive for collectors to buy en primeur by pricing below vintages of equivalent quality.

The 2012 Haut-Brion, which represents only 46% of the production, is a blend of 65% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc. One of the stars of the vintage, it is a complete, medium to full-bodied, soft, round, atypically accessible effort displaying lots of minerality along with red and black fruits, exceptional fragrance and purity, a fleshy mid-palate and a long finish. A remarkable fact in both these wines is that the alcohol levels in 2012 hit 14.8%, which nearly equals the record levels achieved in 2010 – that’s astonishing! This 2012 should drink well 3-4 years after bottling, and last for 20-25 years. 93-95 Robert Parker