Daily Wine 2/3/18:
Château Haut-Brion – Pessac-Léognan – 1998
- This wine is about 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot from the Graves on the Left Bank of Bordeaux.
- Château Haut-Brion is a Premier Cru in the 1855 Classification and is the only producer outside of the Medoc.
- Maturation takes place in 80% new wood for 18-22 months.
- The 1998 vintage was a very good year and provided a very classic and ageworthy example.
- Harvest occurred between the 15th and 30th of September.
- In 1959, Château Haut-Brion’s red wines became part of the Classification of Graves.
- Other wines include Le Clarence de Haut-Brion (rouge), Château Haut-Brion (blanc), and La Clarté de Haut-Brion (blanc).
- Château Haut-Brion, owned by the Dillon family, has 51.6 hectares (127.75 acres). 48.7 hectares are planted to red grapes and 2.9 hectares planted to white. White grapes are divided into 53% Semillon and 47% Sauvignon Blanc.
- Production levels are at about 144,000 bottles for red wines and 9,000 bottles for white wines.
- In 1935, an American banker named Clarence Dillon purchased the estate from the Gibert family.
- White vines are planted on a hillock across the road from the chateau on very deep gravel over a clay subsoil. Two-thirds of the vines were replanted in 1977.
- White grapes are picked as late as possible in cagettes and are sorted into a pneumatic press. No skin contact. Fermentation takes place in French barrels with indigenous yeasts. No malolactic fermentation or lees-stirring (except for in 1998). Aging takes place for 10 to 12 months in 40 to 45% new oak. In the past, 100% new oak was used.
- Red grapes are sorted in the vineyard and are destemmed, lightly crushed, then pumped into tanks.
- Second wines are aged in about 35% new oak.
- Château Haut-Brion has its own cooperage.
- This is the oldest of the Bordeaux classified growths.
- Pair this with rich meats and game.