Tasted blind as a vintage comparison at the Valandraud vertical, the 2011 Haut Brion has always been an excellent Pessac-Leognan, though recent encounters suggest it does not have the potential of the 2012. It has a gentle and caressing bouquet full of copious dark cherry and raspberry fruit, a touch of saddle leather and a seam of dark chocolate emanating from the oak regime, which needs more time to integrate (though it is not an Haut-Brion that is going to demand years and years in bottle). The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin and feels gentle in the mouth. It is very well balanced, although perhaps the oak comes through too strongly on the finish, when frankly there is no need. Nevertheless, this is a classic Pessac-Leognan - maybe "mild mannered" and a little conservative compared to more ambitious recent vintages, yet there is no doubting its class and pedigree. Tasted December 2016.
(229, The Wine Advocate 1st Mar 2017)