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Chateau Haut-Brion

haut-brion.jpgUnique amongst all other properties in Bordeaux in that although included in the famous 1855 Classification, Chateau Haut-Brion, which was granted first-growth status, is not located on the Medoc.  Completely surrounded by houses on three sides of its 46 hectares of vines (including 2.5 hectare of white varieties), it sits on opposite sides of the road with historical qualitative challenger and since 1983, sister property La Mission Haut-Brion.

During the 17th and 18th centuries the likes of King Charles II, Samuel Pepys and Thomas Jefferson all sang the praises of this property, and it has remained one of the most revered properties - and wines - in all Bordeaux ever since.haut-brion-barrels-2.jpg

The vineyards are planted to a mix of around 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Franc, and this mix (as well as the more gravely soils) tends to give Haut-Brion the impression of being the lightest, and most aromatically compelling of the first growths.  This is perhaps unfair, as the wine is not lighter per se, but rather different in style.  

haut-brion-tasting-room-2.jpgThe grapes are sorted in the vineyard and destemmed, before fermentation in Haut-Brion's unique, custom-designed two-level stainless steel tanks.  These not only allow the wine to be removed from its lees by gravity for the secondary, malolactic fermentation (which takes place in the lower chamber), but are designed so as to maximise the contact between the cap and the juice.  The total fermentation is relatively short at around three weeks, with no pre or post-ferment macerations.  The wine is then placed in around 35-40% new oak for 18 months, before bottled (unusually) unfined and unfiltered.

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