Le Clarence de Haut Brion Pessac Léognan 2009
|Region||France, Bordeaux, Pessac-Leognan|
|Brand||Le Clarence de Haut Brion|
The second wine of Haut-Brion, the 2009 Le Clarence Haut Brion checks in as 46% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Offering a classic bouquet of blackcurrants, scorched earth, roasted herbs and earthy, gravely nuances, this beauty is broad, expansive and full-bodied on the palate, with ample depth, density, and structure. There's no harm drinking bottles today, yet it has two decades of longevity ahead of it as well.
This delivers the textbook profile of the appellation and vintage, with dense but mouthwatering tar, cassis, blackberry, bay leaf and dark cocoa notes all melded together and driving through the grippy finish. Approachable, but better with some time. Best from 2013 through 2023. 6,665 cases made.
The second wine, the 2009 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion, is almost as large a cuvee as the grand vin. This 7,000-case cuvee is a blend of 46% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest small quantities of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Once again the burning ember/scorched earth characteristic that often comes from Haut-Brion is found in the second wine, along with more kirsch and cassis, fewer nuances and less complexity than its bigger sibling. The wine is full-bodied with the minerality offered by this terroir as well as plenty of sweet tannins. This is the finest second wine Haut-Brion has produced since the astonishing 1989 Bahans-Haut-Brion. Enjoy it over the next two decades.
Barrel sample. A rich wine, with soft, juicy tannins, some spice, the tannins dry at the center. Good structure, touch of wood.
Dark ruby-red. Blackcurrant, cedar and minerals on the forward nose. Fresh, sweet and smooth on entry, then slightly austere in the middle, with rich black fruit and herb flavors joined by an emerging hint of underbrush. The finish is chewy and moderately persistent. Though Le Clarence has lately been a rather austere wine when young, I'm not sure I like it this time around as much as I did at the Primeurs. I suspect this is in a very closed phase. As the fruit is pure and clean, I am willing to bet it will come around. (ID)