CHATEAU HAUT BRION 2009
CHATEAU HAUT BRION 2009 has one of the longest and most interesting histories of any Bordeaux vineyard. The property derives its name from an ancient Celtic term “Briga.” Loosely translated, this means a rise or mound in the land. This unique terroir was first prized for growing grapes to produce Bordeaux wine close to 600 years ago!
Documents are available showing that Johanna Faure grew vines at Haut Mont near what we now know of as Haut-Brion. Those ancient records are dated September 6, 1426! The vines were planted to produce wine for a local chapel that was founded in Bordeaux by the Menuts Monks to remember the recently deceased Monk, Johan d’Artiguemale.
Haut Brion deserves credit for being first in many things we take for granted today. For example, Chateau Haut Brion was the first Bordeaux chateau to produce truly age worthy wine. They did this by introducing longer periods of aging in barrel, as well as being the first winery to continuously add wine to top off the barrels.
The act of topping off the barrels reduced the amount of oxygen exposure, allowing the wines to age longer and taste fresher. They were also among the first estates to take the wine off its lees and do pump overs during the barrel aging process.
The 48 hectare vineyard of Chateau Haut Brion is planted to 48.7% Merlot, 39.6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot for the red wine grapes. This shows decrease in the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc plantings and an increase of Merlot in the vineyard since the mid 1990’s.
2.9 hectares of vines have been reserved for the planting of white Bordeaux wine varietals. For the production of Chateau Haut Brion Blanc, the vineyard is planted to 51.5% Semillon and 48.5% Sauvignon Blanc. Although there is a small quantity of Sauvignon Gris planted in the vineyard as well. This shows a marked increase in the amount of Sauvignon Blanc in the vineyard. For the white wine grapes of Haut Brion, the vines are planted in a terroir that is gravel over clay soils.
The vineyard is quite close to the city center of Bordeaux, as the city is only 5 kilometers away, give or take. The terroir is deep gravel over clay and sand with a wide variety of minerals and quartz in the soils. The vineyards are well placed on gravel slopes that reach up to 27 meters at their peak elevations.