Thursday, April 26, 2007

Chateau Haut Brion 1997 wine review by (PB)

Visiting (NW) on the occasion of the birth of our new grandchild, (NW) raid the cellar of this first growth of Bordeaux. He purchased years ago finding it on sale for half price and still paid $100 for it. So what does a $200 classic wine taste like? From a value standpoint, disappointing.

This wine is bricking slightly (turning a brick red at the rim indicating aging) and is much lighter in hue than I would have expected of a first growth. On opening it has a bouquet of fresh fruit and a nose of asparagus, with a touch of cedar and another layer of something else trying to emerge. The layers are quite nice and really need to be contemplated.

This wine is fully mature with toasty palate with tight fruit structured in the "sweeter" style and has a smoky, charcoal finish. It has a decent texture and this wine is peaked right now [actually, it's over the hill]. This was a treat to say the least and yet this wine is hugely disappointing.

The Wine Spectator gave this wine a 96 or 97 point rating and a rave review. [please note the "comment" below] I just can't see it and I rarely disagree with the W/S reviews. Interestingly, I had another Haut Brion many years ago in the early 80's. I remember that wine as being very similar and disappointing as this one. It makes me wonder about what is value and what is hype concerning the highly touted and ridiculously expensive wines. Maybe people do drink labels...

Give me a nice $60 Napa Cab (Darioush!) any day.
We raised a glass to our newest arrival and gave thanks for the gift of life!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tasting note. But just to set the record straight, here is the official Wine Spectator review for the 1997 Haut Brion. Not that it was recommended for early drinking:

A stunningly gorgeous red. Beautiful aromas of licorice, berries and flowers. Medium- to full-bodied, with silky tannins and a long, succulent finish. Very fine indeed. Drink now through 2004. –JS
Score: 90

Thomas Matthews
Executive editor
Wine Spectator