* The Château Haut-Brion is one of the most historic properties in all of Bordeaux. The earliest documents dating from the winemaking with the Haut-Brion grapes date from 1521, when the winery became known as Aubrion. Since then, the château has produced wine uninterrupted until today, becoming the oldest of Bordeaux's prestigious wineries.
In 1525, Jeanne de Bellon, daughter of the mayor of Libourne, married Jean de Pontac. Jeanne's dowry included land in Graves and Jean decided to buy the Haut-Brion mansion, both of which marked the official birth of Château Haut-Brion. From then on, extraordinary events began to be linked: in 1663, Château Haut-Brion was the first to see a press conference about his wines; in 1666, its proprietor opened a tavern in England to sell its wines being the first great château to promote its wines not only outside the appeal, but also of the country. It would also be the first great winery to produce wines capable of aging, thanks to the good use of the woods in the aging and also the pioneer in filling the barrels from time to time to avoid oxidation. Thomas Jefferson visited the château in 1787 and was so marvelous with his wines that he included the Château Haut-Brion among his four favorite wines of Bordeaux, accompanying the Château Margaux, the Château Latour and the Château Lafite Rothschild. Curiously, these four wines would top the ranking of 1855 being honored with the title of Premier Cru. Château Haut-Brion was the only Premier Cru located outside the Médoc, which gives an idea of how special wines were already at that time.
At present, the Haut-Brion vineyard covers 48 hectares of gravel soils on clays and sands. 49% of the surface is covered with merlot, while cabernet sauvignon occupies 40%; the remaining 11% is cabernet franc in its entirety. Although the average age of the vineyard is about 37 years, some of its strains have already more than nine decades.
The Château Haut-Brion reds ferment in stainless steel tanks, as they did in 1961, having been one of the first Bordeaux wineries to incorporate this practice. The wines age in new oak and 70% of the barrels are produced in their own cooperage. The assemblage of the different wines that make up the Château Haut-Brion is realized immediately after the malolactic fermentation to avoid that the wood can influence the final cuvée.
Some 3 hectares are dedicated to the white grape, with the semillon and sauvignon blanc sharing the vineyard in equal parts; with them, the little more than 600 boxes of the rare and desired Haut-Brion blanc, one of the most expensive white wines in the world, of incomparable style and capable of aging for decades, are made. The grapes for processing are harvested before dawn to keep all its freshness. The whole clusters are then pressed and the wort is immediately removed from the skins. The wines ferment and grow for months in new barrels and do not develop malolactic fermentation.
Today, the Châteaux Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion are run by Jean-Philippe Delmas, heir of the Delmas family, with which the relationship of both wineries goes back decades, even to more than 100 years in the case of the Château Haut-Brion. Many have been the accumulated changes in the long history of the winery, but always for the better. The yields are lower and the bottles of the first wine are increasingly scarce, because only the grapes that reach excellence are destined to its elaboration. The constant evolution of Château Haut-Brion has led the winery to produce today the best wines of its history, which is not little considering the successful and long career of the maison.
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