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2014 Chateau Haut-Brion
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The Château Haut-Brion 2014 is a blend of 50% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 39% Cabernet Sauvignon picked between 11 September and 10 October cropped at 42.9 hectoliters per hectare raised in 70% new oak (Jean-Philippe Delmas has been lowering the new oak in recent vintages.) The fruit seems a little "redder" than La Mission at this stage with vibrant wild strawberry, blackcurrant and a pinch of dry tobacco, a hint of menthol developing with time in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, that tobacco element becoming a little stronger in the mouth, a little foursquare but like La Mission Haut-Brion, focusing upon precision rather than power. Of course, a superb contribution to the vintage, but I'd place my bets on the "Mish", at least on these barrel tastings. Drink 2019 - 2040.
Neal Martin -The Wine Advocate # 218 (Apr 2015)
Features a youthfully muscular edge, but remains elegant despite the heft, with a core of plum, red currant and raspberry fruit, guided by supple tannins and backed by subtle tobacco and spice hints. A light bay thread chimes in on the finish, while a juniper detail adds a pleasant underpinning. Displays admirable concentration, but this will need time to soak up its élevage, as it is always one of the more backward wines of the spring tastings. Tasted non-blind.
J.M. - Wine Spectator
From a blend of 50% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a full and deep expression of the vintage. The fruit leads with damson and plum, with black pepper spicing, lovely smoked grilled notes, touches of bramble, with a beautiful tannic hold and life on the finish. Deft and elegant, clearly successful, rich complexity and deceptive in terms of ageing because the tannins are fine but there are plenty of them, gently building up in your mouth over the course of the tasting. Such confident handling of the vintage, as you would expect, relatively high alcohol for the year at 14.25%abv, but barely discernible.
Dense and tight now with blackberries, blueberries, iodine, minerals and currants. Full-bodied, firm and closed, yet there's a persistence and length that is most impressive. Polished and very classy.