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1999 Ch Haut Brion

November 27, 2011

This is my penultimate bottle of the 1999 Ch Haut Brion, specially chosen and double-decanted for an hour before being brought to La Barca, 24 Nov 2011, for a celebratory dinner where it proved to be the perfect accompaniment to maestro Sorrentino’s 1.2 kg T-bone steak. Compared to two previous tastings – Dec 2009 at Saint Pierre and May 2011 at Les Amis – this is, by far, the best experience I’ve had with this wine. A highly complex bouquet of heated gravel and high-toned earthy minerality compete against equally engaging aromas of dry citrus, grapefruit and raspberries with background notes of briar, cedar and wild berries, traversing the palate with excellent linearity and presence at just the right degree of concentration, remarkable for its ability to remain so beautifully proportioned and elegant without drawing attention to itself. As dinner wore on, a greater predominance of red fruits and sweet cherries came to the fore, the fruit remarkably fresh, more rounded and full with a bit more fat in the mid-body, becoming almost Burgundy-like, holding on in this manner till the last drop. It seemed to have the legs to last another 10 years, easily, just missing the final ounce of opulence and hedonism of the finest vintages. Nevertheless, this is a top drop by any standard.

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