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April 24, 2014

Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion 2013 EP Releases

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Haut Brion 2013 – £2,450, 12×75 or – £1,225 6×75 EP – 91-94 AG

Today marks the release of the Domaine Clarence Dillon stable and Haut Brion the final First Growth to release in what has become an expeditious En Primeur campaign. Following-suite from Margaux, Haut Brion has released at £2,450 and £1,225 for 12 and six bottle cases respectively. This is significant as along with Margaux 2013 it means this is the only bottle of First Growth available in the market for around £200. En Primeur 2013 was set to be a campaign that would come down to competitive pricing and Haut Brion, like the other First Growths has offered a big incentive to buy on release, pricing 15% down on their 2012 release price of £2,800, where it comfortably trades today.

The second question in 2013 is one of performance; did the estate practice strict selections and produce a good wine? In the Case of Haut Brion the answer is yes, a wine unilaterally appreciated by Antonio Galloni 91-94, James Suckling 92-93 and James Molesworth (Wine Spectator) 91-94. Suckling stated; ‘This has one of the best finishes of all 2013 Bordeaux reds’, a sentiment reiterated by Galloni, ‘Haut-Brion is one of the more overtly muscular, broad-shouldered wines of the year.’ Haut Brion displays, damsons, cedar, tobacco, rose, violets, vanilla, eucalyptus and lavender in a complex and fragrant nose. The palate is beefy, well balanced with good fruit density and a delightful long finish (possibly the longest of all wines we tasted in this vintage) finishing with lovely notes of white chocolate and tobacco leaf. We had no hesitation in awarding the wine 92-94 points.

The blend in 2013 is 50% Merlot, 45.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4.5% Cabernet Franc; the inclusion of its normally high percentage of Merlot is reflected in the strong mid-palate, something missing in many wines of this vintage and facilitated by the high level of gravel found in Pessac-Leognan. Haut Brion 2013 offers an excellent discount to recent vintages and will sell quickly, finding favour in the market as a highlight of the campaign.

Vintage

Score

Price

2013

92-93

£2,450

2012

93-95

£2,750

2011

92-95

£2,750

2007

92

£2,600

2003

95

£2,700

James Suckling 92-93 points
This has one of the best finishes of all 2013 Bordeaux reds. Full and balanced with medium density in the mid-palate, but it lasts for minutes on the finish. Tobacco, currant and spice character. Only 13.1% alcohol.

Antonio Galloni 91-94 points
Smoke, tobacco, incense and game meld into a core of black stone fruits as the 2013 Haut-Brion shows off its personality. Like most of the reds in this range, the 2013 really needs time in the glass to blossom. Violets, lavender and melted road tar develop over time in a striking, vivid wine endowed with class as well as considerable potential. Haut-Brion is one of the more overtly muscular, broad-shouldered wines of the year. It will be interesting to see what time in barrel brings, but there is a lot to look forward to. The 2013 is 50% Merlot, 45.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4.5% Cabernet Franc.

Le Clarence de Haut Brion 2013 – £540, 12×75 or – £270 6×75 EP

Also available is the second wine of Haut Brion, Le Clarence de Haut Brion at £540 for a case of 12 and £270 for a case of six. This tasted beautifully and was well received by the critics scoring 89-91 from Galloni and 88-91 from James Molesworth. If you want to own a wine from the vines of Haut Brion at £40 a bottle, Le Clarence de Haut Brion offers exactly that, a wine that punches above its price and heralds from the same vineyards as the perennial favourite of the critics, Haut Brion.

James Molesworth 89-91 points
Features a plump feel, with plum, cherry and blackberry fruit lined with savory, tobacco and warm cedar notes. Lightly firm through the finish, but this has ample flesh for the vintage. 

Antonio Galloni 89-91 points
The 2013 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion is soft, silky and medium in body. Rose petals, mint and sweet red berries all lift from the glass in an intensely floral wine supported by beams of mineral and graphite notes. Silky tannins add finesse to the supple, gracious finish. The 2013 is 57% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Cabernet Franc.

La Mission Haut Brion 2013 – £1,300, 12×75 or – £650 6×75 EP – 90-93 JM

The Domaine Clarence Dillon stable also boats the superb La Mission Haut Brion, priced at £1,300 and £650 for case of 12 and six bottles respectively, a very generous 20% reduction on their 2012 release price. La Mission Haut Brion also scored vividly with 91-93 points from Neil Martin, 90-92 from Galloni and 87-90 from Molesworth. La Mission like the Haut Brion displays rose hip, blueberries, tobacco, white chocolate and tar on the nose, with an added touch of white pepper. It has a muscular palate, sweet fine tannin and a lovely minerality with delightful hints of chalk; a wine we scored 90-92 points.

James Molesworth 90-93 points
Taut, with a tangy edge to the red currant, damson plum and blackberry notes, framed with plum skin and blood orange accents and backed by a solid roasted apple wood edge on the finish. This has a rather obvious tannic spine but is not woody in feel. 

Antonio Galloni 90-92 points
The 2013 La Mission Haut-Brion is intriguing. At first relatively immediate, the 2013 turns darker and more intensely mineral as it sits in the glass. Plum, black cherry, smoke and licorice wrap around the palate with serious density for the year. Bright, floral notes finesse on the finish. The 2013 captures an attractive combination of power tempered by the understated personality of the year. There is a lot to like here. It will be interesting to see if the 2013 gains depth in elevage. The 2013 is 65% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc.

La Chapelle La Mission Haut Brion 2013 – £330, 12×75 or – £165 6×75 EP – 88-90 AG

Not to be missed is the second wine of La Mission Haut Brion, La Chapelle de La Mission Haut Brion which has released with a 16% discount on last year at the superb price of £330 for a case of 12 or £115 for a case of six. This reflects a bottle price of £27.50 and one of the best buys of the vintage for future drinking. It is best described as the younger brother of La Mission, produced in the same vineyards from a higher percentage of younger vines; the future of La Mission. It is made to be consumed younger, although it will improve for ten years and the 2013 exhibits a delightful perfume of white chocolate, blackcurrant, blueberries, jam, sweet vanilla, cedar, smoke, with hints of Haut Brion’s tobacco. It scored 88-90 from Galloni, 87-90 from Molesworth and 89-90 from IG Wines. If you want to own a wine that exhibits much of the pedigree of La Mission and Haut Brion for under £30 a bottle this wine is one to buy now and drink in three years, a remarkable effort for the price.

James Molesworth 87-90 points
Shows a chalky frame, with racy red currant fruit and a bright sanguine note through the finish. An echo of pomegranate leaves a slightly tangy feel. 

Antonio Galloni 88-90 points
Graphite, smoke, tar, game, licorice and black stone fruits take shape in the 2013 Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion. A dark brooding wine, the 2013 has plenty of intensity and more than enough depth to drink nicely for a number of years once the tannins soften a touch. This is a terrific showing. With time, the 2013 only gets better and more expressive in the glass. The blend is 52% Merlot, 35.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12.5% Cabernet Franc.

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