Tasted at Bordeaux Index's annual 10-Year On tasting in London. The 2006 Château Haut-Brion has a more ostentatious bouquet than the comparatively reserved La Mission: quite feisty blackberry, briary, kirsch and red plum scents, hints of leather and sage tucked just underneath. This is a bouquet determined to make an impression! The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, well-judged acidity, a gentle build to a concentrated, earthy, truffle-tinged finish that lingers long in the mouth. This seems to have the upper-hand over the La Mission and probably has a longer future. A thoroughbred from Jean-Philippe Delmas and his team. (NM)
A severe, austere wine that doesn't show its richness easily. The tannins are tight and firm and they dominate. Underneath is ripe fruit, the balance with tannins giving a foursquare, solid character. The wine is complex, spice playing with the fruit, some medicinal flavors and a definite stalky, tight structure. It obviously needs long-term aging. *Best of 2009, Cellar Selection* (RV)
Medium ruby-red. Inviting aromas of plum, warm stones, red licorice and menthol. Suave, gentle and elegantly styled; distinctly sweeter and lusher today than the La Mission, with even more mid-palate depth. Showing more red fruits today as well, with pungent minerality giving the wine lift and juiciness. Finishes with suave but substantial building tannins. Last year this wine was showing its spine while La Mission was more opulent; in bottle it's the other way around. (ST)
Offers subtle and complex aromas, with violet, cedar and blackberry. Full-bodied, with ultrafine tannins and a very long finish. Tight and curled up in a ball. Best after 2015. (JS)
Jean-Philippe Delmas's team at Domaine Clarence Dillon produced two excellent wines in 2006 from the neighboring properties of Haut-Brion and La Mission. Both share an aristocratic stature, with Haut-Brion more immediately powerful and expressive in this vintage. As if the fruit mirrored the multicolored pebbles of the vineyard, this touches off sensory impressions of fresh currants, pomegranate, cherry pits, coriander, black raspberry, rhubarb and fennel, all seeming to emanate from the same dark and mysterious place at the center of the wine. The texture is lean and taut, with a tensile strength that carries the fruit past mouth-drying tannin through a mineral finish that lasts for minutes. There's nothing effusive about the wine; it's all reserved. Probably at its best between ten and 20 years from the vintage.
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