Château-Haut-Brion Pessac Léognan 2018
|France, Bordeaux, Pessac-Leognan
The 2018 Haut-Brion is composed of 49.4% Merlot, 38.7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11.9% Cabernet Franc. Deep garnet-purple in color, the wine needs a lot of swirling before it begins to release a whole complex melody of notes, one at a time to begin: tilled earth, followed by pronounced licorice, then crushed rocks, then the preserved plums. Eventually, it all comes together into a fascinating crescendo of intense crème de cassis, rose oil, wild blueberries and kirsch notes, giving way to quiet, persistent leitmotif scents of cinnamon stick, truffles and redcurrant jelly. The medium to full-bodied palate delivers all this and more, revealing tightly wound black fruit, red berry and exotic spice layers within a solid, wonderfully plush frame and seamless freshness, finishing with epic length and loads of earth and mineral sparks. This is a profound, highly intellectual, multilayered baby, which will require a good 7-8 years to begin to sing its incredible song, then should cellar a further 40 years at least. By way of reference, think 1989 with more restraint and even greater purity.
Waves of cassis, cherry puree and blackberry paste roll through in this showstopper, with notes of tea, sandalwood, iron and anise providing an entourage for the fruit. A subtle warm earth accent underscores the finish without intruding on the texture. A large-scaled yet eminently refined wine. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2025 through 2045.
A quintessential expression of this terroir, the 2018 Château Haut-Brion checks in as 49.4% Merlot, 38.7% Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance Cabernet Franc brought up in a mix of new and used barrels. Ripe and sexy, yet also offering subtle aromas and flavors of blackcurrants, smoked earth, tobacco leaf, truffle, lead pencil, and minerals, it takes its time opening up but reveals a full-bodied, concentrated, multi-layered style carrying gorgeous tannins, flawless balance, and just a wonderful symmetry and elegance paired with beautiful richness. This noble, gorgeous Haut-Brion will benefit from 7-8 years of bottle age and cruise for 40 years or so.
The 2018 Haut-Brion is an infant, but its balance and potential are both amply evident. Rich and deep in the glass, the 2018 opens to reveal tremendous complexity and nuance, qualities that only grow with time. The 2018 is not a huge Haut-Brion, nor is it massively endowed, but it is so elegant and classy. I loved it.
Barrel Sample. This wine has opulence and concentration, with crisp flavors of ripe yellow fruits. There is so much going on in this impressive wine. It has benefited from the hot summer, yielding a ripe wine that still manages to remain crisp and tight on the finish.