Having tasted the 1966 Laville Haut-Brion three times now, I know it can be an outstanding Pessac-Léognan. This was not in the same class as the bottle tasted back in 2015, although it still shows its class. Closed at first, the 1966 then opens with those disarming lanolin and wax resin scents, albeit without the delineation of previous bottles. The palate offers notes of dried pineapple, quite saline in the mouth, with strong and powerful honeyed notes towards the finish. This certainly improved in the glass, gaining more precision and mineralité. Superb. Tasted at a private dinner with a private collector in Tokyo. (NM)
This was paired up with the ’66 La Mission Haut Brion, and it was the slightly less impressive bottle of the two for the first hours it was in the glass. However, it continued to grow and gain depth as the evening wore on, and it was clearly the superior of the two wines by the time it had fully unfolded. The nose is classic HB, offering up notes of roasted cassis, plums, cigar ash, black truffles, Graves earth, and a vague topnote redolent of violets. On the palate the wine is ultimately medium-full (having put on weight as it opened up), with excellent focus and balance, and fine length and grip on the polished and complex finish. I used to think that the ’66 was a bit more of the red fruity and brick dust-like side of Haut Brion, but the last several bottles that I have tasted have moved decisively over to the black fruity side of the ledger. (Drink between 2003-2020)
On the austere side, but balanced and harmonious, finishing with surprising length. Sweet caramel and berry overtones ring on the finish. (HS)
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