One of the oldest estates of the Bordeaux area, its history comprises over 500 years. In 1525, Jean de Pontac, the true founder of het estate, married Jeanne de Bellon. She brought as a dowry, the lands of Haut Brion. He carefully planned and built the château in 1549. One of his heirs, Arnaud de Pontac, was already an expert wine-grower and he conducted tastings to see how the wines aged.
The wine was already sold as Haut-Brion to distinguish itself from the generic “Graves” wines. The wine was mentioned by famous people such as Samuel Pepys (“Ho-Bryan”) and Thomas Jefferson for its outstanding quality and unique character. Around 1750, the wine was already bottled at the château.
In 1855 it was subsequently honored as “Premier Grand Cru”, together with Lafite, Margaux and Latour.
It was also the only château which wasn’t situated in the “Gironde Area”. Because of the oïdium, mildew and phylloxera diseases, the estate decided to graft and replant all the vines with resistant American rootstock and completed this operation in 1900.
In 1933 Clarence Dillon came in the Bordeaux region, seeking for a top château to buy. Although Châteaux such as Cheval-Blanc and Margaux were also for sale because of the crisis, it became in the end Château Haut-Brion.
The introduction of the unique bottle (modelled from old decanters), started with the 1958 vintage. Besides a “second wine” called “Le Clarence de Haut-Brion” (and before 2007: Bahans de Haut-Brion), they also produce a white wine “Château Haut-Brion Blanc”, produced in minuscule quantities.
The red wines display an earthy richness combined with silkiness and concentration while the white wine is considered one of the very best produced in Bordeaux and it has the opulence often compared with that of Le Montrachet Grand Cru in Burgundy. Both the red and the white wine are capable to last 30+ years. Grape varieties are for the red wines: Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), Merlot (37%) and Cabernet Franc (18%). For the white wine Sauvignon Blanc (53%) and Sémillon (47%) are used.
Legendary vintages are: 1926, 1928, 1929, 1945, 1953, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1982, 1989, 1990, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2015.Read more