Interesting facts relating to another of Bordeaux’s finest exports
With a history that dates as far back as 1423, and a Premier Cru Classé rating, Haut-Brion differs from the other wines on the list in its geographic location in the north of the wine-growing region of Graves. Of the five first growths, it is the only wine with the Pessac-Léognan appellation and is in some sense the ancestor of a classification that remains the benchmark to this day.
The 48-hectare vineyard of Chateau Haut Brion is quite close to the city centre of Bordeaux, as the city is only 5km away, give or take. The terroir is deep gravel over clay and sand with a wide variety of minerals and quartz in the soils. The vineyards are on important, gravel hills that reach up to 27 meters at their peak elevations. The gravel at Haut Brion runs extremely deep. In some parts, the gravel can be as deep as 18 meters. At Haut Brion, the clay soils play a vital role, hence the large percentage of Merlot in the vineyards.
Less is More
In 1977, close to 65% of the vineyard was replanted. Today, the average age of the white wine varietals at Haut Brion are close to 30 year of age. Very little Haut Brion Blanc is produced each year. The production for Haut Brion Blanc has always been historically small. In fact, when the wines of Graves were classified, Haut Brion requested their white wine be removed from the classification. Today, on average, close to 600 cases of Haut Brion Blanc are produced each year.
To produce the red wine of Chateau Haut Brion, vinification takes place in unique, double skinned, stainless steel vats. Interestingly, Chateau Haut Brion was one of the first Bordeaux chateau to begin using stainless steel for vinification. This took place in 1961. The double skinned, stainless steel vats were first introduced at Chateau Haut Brion in 1991. The wine is aged in up to 100% new, French oak for as long as 24 months, depending on the strength and character of the vintage.
Chateau Haut Brion is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Chateau Haut Brion is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Haut Brion is also good with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms and pasta.