Mr Clarence Dillon, an eminent American financier, visited Bordeaux in 1934. He fell under the spell of Chateau Haut-Brion and recognized the unique opportunity of acquiring such a legendary estate: he had discovered a precious jewel waiting to shine once again. Although famous for centuries, Haut-Brion was going through difficult times. Mr Clarence Dillon purchased the estate in 1935 and this was the beginning of his family’s long commitment and dedication to this famous chateau, as well as to the wines of Bordeaux. Every improvement and innovation since then has been guided by a love of perfection, and Chateau Haut-Brion has remained worthy of its noble heritage thanks to the men and women responsible for implementing them. In 1983, the Dillon family also acquired the neighboring estate, Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion. Since the 2011 vintage, the company is also proud to represent one of the finest wines from Saint Émilion: Chateau Quintus. Today, Domaine Clarence Dillon, has the unique privilege of producing five rare and exceptional estate wines of unequalled reputation as well as their second wines. Domaine Clarence Dillon’s expertise, founded on five centuries of history, is reflected in every wine produced by the estate. In 2005, seventy years after Clarence Dillon’s arrival, his great-grandson, Prince Robert de Luxembourg, began writing a new chapter of the Dillon family’s history by establishing Clarence Dillon Wines to produce and sell the first premium brand wine in Bordeaux: “Clarendelle”.
Chateau Haut-Brion Pessac-Leognan 2014 is a blend of 50% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 39% Cabernet Sauvignon picked between 11 September and 10 October, cropped at 42.9 hectoliters per hectare and raised in 70% new oak. As I observed when I made the comparison in barrel, the Haut Brion exudes more red fruit than La Mission Haut Brion, adorned with wild strawberry, bilberry, tobacco and again, just that hint of menthol in the background. The palate is very fresh and taut on the entry. The acidity is very nicely pitched and there is a touch of marmalade and blood orange that is tangible at the back of the mouth. There is real frisson to this Haut Brion, not quite as seductive and as smooth as its sibling over the road, but very persistent in the mouth.