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Page 5 of the interview with

Jean-Philippe Delmas
Château Haut Brion

How would you describe Haut-Brion to somebody who never had the chance to taste it before?

The first word that comes to my mind is: complexity.
Actually it is a difficult question. It is hazardous. A wine is only a wine. The best way is to taste it. Sometimes, words are not enough. They cannot describe all the characteristics and all the aromas. I would say Mission Haut-Bion is a complete wine while Haut-Brion is a complex wine.
Honestly, I have to say that Haut-Brion is not an easy wine. You need a knowledge base to fully appreciate this wine. I would not advise Haut-Brion to someone who is just starting to taste wine. You need a kind of training with more easy to drink wines first.

We know that 2003 Winter was difficult, Spring and Summer of 2004 were fine and September very good. What can you say today about the 2004 vintage?

We had three quite difficult years one after another. In 2002 there were many coulures (falling of vine flowers causing a loss of crop). We needed to make a very strict grape selection.
In 2003 because of the heat wave, we worked very hard in August. We had to harvest the grapes in August in order to keep a little bit of freshness.
In 2004, harvest took place later. Compare to 2003, it was necessary to be patient, it was necessary to wait. We are very optimistic. The wine is very rich in color, very tannic, very ripe. 2004 is certainly very good, between very good and exceptional.

About the 2003 vintage, is it true that Haut-Brion suffered more from the heat wave than Latour for example?

The early terroirs, in the right bank and Pessac Léognan suffered more than the late ones. The key to success for the early ones was not to be taken by surprise but to instinctively harvest the grapes early. I came back from vacation on the 5th of August and we started to harvest the white grapes on the 13th. It is true that some wine growers were taken by surprise. They lost balance and freshness and produced an atypical wine.

You also produce a white wine, in limited quantity. It is a very interesting wine. Would you please describe it?

We use two grape varieties: Sémillon (60 %) and Sauvignon Blanc (40 %). From its structure, it looks like a Burgundy's Chardonnay, although they are of course two different things. It has the aromatic range of a Sauternes, thanks to the Sémillon, with flavors of honey and acacia. It is a very rich wine, long enough and greedy. It is a wine I am very happy with. It has a great potential. This wine can age well. I only regret that they are so few for our customers. We produce only 600 to 700 cases per year.

Is it possible to visit Chateau Haut-Brion?

You can visit Haut-Brion on request and you need to take an appointment with us.
We will show you our winery. We will explain to you our philosophy behind the wine. And at the end of the tour, you can taste a wine to understand what we mean with our philosophy. It is all free.
We enjoy to show what a wine is and specially what is Haut-Brion. We make wine so that you drink it with friends around a table. A wine is convivial and festive. We like to share that with people.

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Jean Philippe Delmas, Chateau Haut-Brion

Go back to the beginning of the interview with Jean-Philippe Delmas, Chateau Haut-Brion




Château Haut-Brion
2002 harvest














Chateau Haut-Brion


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