Of the pair of châteaux, La Mission Haut-Brion and Haut-Brion (both owned by the Dillon banking family) that face each other across the crowded streets of Pessac, Haut-Brion is the one with the structure, the darkness, the brooding character. This is so true of 2004, with its hugely firm structure underlying the initial supple fruit. At the end, the acidity is an enticing surprise, lifting the aftertaste.
Wonderful aromas of dried flowers, currant, berries and mineral. Full-bodied, yet reserved and refined. Lovely texture, with a pure silk feel. Seamless and beautiful. Great length. Even better than from barrel. Best after 2012. 12,500 cases made.
It has been a few years since I last tasted the 2004 Haut-Brion. Now at 12 years of age, it retains its deep color. The bouquet is "pleasant" if not as complex as the 2004 Latour, yet it's possibly just biding its time as it gradually opens with black fruit, black olive, even a touch of mint that might dupe you into thinking Pauillac. The palate is medium-bodied and very harmonious, almost caressing thanks to the Merlot lending that velvety texture. The second half changes tack, the Cabernet nudging the Merlot off the stage and delivering a more structured, possibly foursquare finish that is linear and correct. It is an excellent wine for the vintage although it will always be overshadowed by the 2005 inter alia. Maybe more personality just needs to develop?
Deep brick-tinged garnet. Gentle and complex aromas that are hard to describe discretely. Overall there's a slightly leafy note but there's a lovely warm, spicy sweetness, a little earthy and still a trace of red fruits. More austere on the palate than I expected. Refined and refreshing. The tannins quite dry at the very end.
Gorgeous Haut-Brion filled with dark plums, cocoa and cedarbox flavors. The wine is generous, lush with a velvety texture. The firm, ripe tannins provide great backbone to a wine that is very much under-valued in this vintage.