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Haut Brion drops La Tour

Chateau Haut Brion has discontinued one of its oldest labels, La Tour Haut Brion.

Beginning with the 2006 vintage, the 5ha estate, which produced about 2,000 cases and was established in the Middle Ages as La Tour de Rostaing, has been incorporated into the estate’s other wines.

Wines made from vines averaging 21 years in age are now incorporated into the second wine of La Mission Haut Brion, La Chapelle de La Mission Haut Brion, ‘which explains the elevated amount of Cabernet Franc in the second wine,’ spokeswoman Turid Ancaras told decanter.com.

The decision was made to simplify the number of wines produced by Haut Brion’s owner Domaine Clarence Dillon, she said. ‘As the vines get older, we will probably use them also for La Mission Haut Brion.’

Critics at this week’s En Primeur tastings noted one immediate difference: the elevated amount of Cabernet Franc in the La Chapelle, about 28%, which ‘comes from La Tour Haut Brion,’ Ancaras explained.

It was not until the 19th century that the then owners of La Tour, the Cayrou brothers, added the name of ‘Haut-Brion’ to the wine. Records show that in 1850, Féret’s Wines of Bordeaux acknowledged the name of ‘La Tour Haut-Brion.’

The property was obtained by Domaine Clarence Dillon in 1983.

Wines tasted en primeur this year are the Haut Brion white and red, Haut Brion second wine Bahans Haut Brion, the Laville Haut Brion white, La Mission Haut Brion and its second wine La Chapelle de la Mission Haut Brion.

Decanter contributing editor James Lawther MW said, ‘I can see the reason for it. It’s logical but slightly strange – it’s an illustration of how the Grand Cru system works that a Graves Cru Classe like La Tour Haut Brion can just disappear.’

Written by Panos Kakaviatos in Bordeaux

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