Classified First Growth from Graves in 1855, Chateau Haut-Brion is a historic property in Bordeaux. Located in the Pessac-Leognan appellation, this mythic viticultural jewel is the product of a rich history, exceptional terroir and an unimaginable amount of “savoir-faire”.
A history of firsts
Chateau Haut-Brion is considered one of the oldest vineyards of Bordeaux. In 1525 Jean de Pontac acquired land from his marriage with Jeanne de Bellon. In 1533 Jean purchased the house on the property, marking the beginning of an unforgettable history. Haut-Brion earned the title of “First Growth” 1855 Grand Cru Classification in the Graves region, it was one of the five Grand Cru wineries not located in the Medoc. Haut-Brion was one of the first Bordeaux wines to bear the name of the property, in a period when wine was sold anonymously.
The domain has passed through the hands of four different families since the 16th century, each bringing their own innovations. These innovations became standards for wine making not only in Bordeaux, but the world. For example, bottling at the chateau or waxing and racking in order to improve the storage of wines.
There are records of King Charles II enjoying wine from Chateau Haut-Brion in 1660 London. The wines of Haut-Brion had made its way to England and other countries. Clarence Dillon, an American banker and admirer of French culture, purchased the property in 1935. Clarence was also the owner of Domaine Clarence Dillon. Prince Robert of Luxembourg, his great-grandson, is the current owner of the property.
Haut-Brion’s legendary terroir
Haut-Brion is located in the commune of Pessac, southwest of Bordeaux. Chateau Haut-Brion’s name comes from its location, slightly elevated in between the Peugue and Serpent streams. In Celtic, the word “briga” means hill or high place. Due to its peculiar geographic location, the terroir is diverse and adds to the unique taste of Haut-Brion. There are two hills of günzian gravel that are 12-15 meters above the two streams. The terroir also consists of different varieties of quartz. Haut-Brion is also defined by its sandy-clay sub-soil that is covered by pebbles. The estate is 51 hectares. There are 48 hectares with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Petit Verdot planted. The remaining hectares are especially reserved for Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The average vine is 37 years old.
Producing a great wine
Chateau Haut-Brion was the first chateau to implement techniques that are now considered essential, such as the racking and aging of wines in oak barrels. Harvest is done by hand, which is another process that adds to the Haut-Brion’s true claim to fame is consistently offering the highest quality wines for several centuries. The quality is the direct product of the passion and commitment of the winemakers. Without them, there would be no Haut-Brion. The winemakers continually embody the culture and know-how of Chateau Haut-Brion.