It is fun to go back and forth between the 1995 and 1996, two superb vintages for Haut-Brion. The 1995 seems to have sweeter tannin and a bit more fat and seamlessness when compared to the more structured and muscular 1996. Certainly 1995 was a vintage that the brilliant administrator Jean Delmas handled flawlessly. The result is a deep ruby/purple-colored wine with a tight but promising nose of burning wood embers intermixed with vanilla, spice box, earth, mineral, sweet cherry, black currant, plum-like fruit, medium to full body, a high level of ripe but sweet tannin, and a finish that goes on for a good 40-45 seconds. (RP)
Sweet tobacco, blackberries and violets on the nose. Subtle. Full-bodied and very tight, with fantastic tannins and a long caressing finish. Wonderful texture. All in reserve still. Give this time. (JS, Web Only-2007)
The ’95 Haut Brion is another lovely wine in the making, as it offers up a refined and classy bouquet of sweet dark berries, a bit of brick dust, Cuban tobacco, still some of the weedy tones of youth and a fine base of Graves soil. Again, while I am sure that the château used plenty of new wood with the 1995 vintage, there is little or no sign of oak in the wine’s aromatics today. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, refined and seamless, with outstanding intensity of flavor, beautiful balance, and great length and grip on the moderately tannic finish. This wine at age twelve has begun to settle into the elegant profile of Haut Brion, and offers up outstanding potential. The 1996 will have to really come on down the road to outpace this brilliant Haut Brion.
Very good deep red-ruby. Sweet, highly expressive aromas of redcurrant, hot stones, roasted plum, woodsmoke and tobacco. Fuller and more textured in the middle palate, with a chewy, tactile mouth feel that suggests strong extract and a wonderfully pliant texture. A firm mineral underpinning and sound acids frame the fruit. Expansive and seductively sweet in the mouth. Finishes very long and ripe, with thoroughly civilized tannins. (ST)
Just lovely wine, and the only one that was not dominated by a single variety, being a Cabernet/Merlot blend. Excellent lustrous, nuanced ruby … Clearly a very fine mature wine. Strong liquorice notes (Haut-Brion 'warm bricks' earthiness?) For a second I wondered if it was a 1998 Hermitage. Very complex. Spread across the palate. (JR) 18.5/20 points
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