The 2008 Haut Brion has a very perfumed and floral bouquet: ebullient raspberry coulis and crushed strawberry fruit, sage and a hint of black olive. It just builds momentum in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin. It feels a little grainy in texture, centered upon gravelly black fruit laced with black olive and smoke. It felt more austere than I expected, the finish reserved and somehow "contained" and yet the aftertaste is extraordinarily long. Avoid opening bottles for now because this was always one of the standout wines of the vintage, but at 10 years old it might be going through a dumb phase. (Tasted at BI Wine & Spirit s annual 10-Year On tasting.)
Anticipated maturity: 2025-2055
Robert Parker 95
Tasted ex-chateau and single blind in Southwold. Tasted from two bottles, the Haut Brion 2008 has an austere, quite earthy bouquet with brambly red fruit, wild strawberry and cranberry, well-integrated new oak and palpable mineralite. The palate is medium-bodied with a succulent entry; fine acidity, very svelte tannins with judicious creamy new oak rounding off the seductive, yet muscular finish with a peacock’s tail of graphite and sous-bois on the aftertaste. Difficult to separate from La Mission at the moment, although I think this is the longer-term bet. Tasted January 2012.
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc. Prominent oak. Modern, forthright, sleek fruit. Dry but drinkable tannins. Really very dark and dense. Powerful. Massive. (RH)
Anticipated maturity: 2018-2033