The second wine of Haut-Brion is now called Le Clarence de Haut-Brion, and the 2010 is among the finest I have tasted there. It is a broad, powerful and more muscular wine than its cross-street rival, La Chapelle de la Mission, but all the same, it is wonderfully fresh and precise, with notes of blueberry and boysenberry as well as hints of smoke and wet stones. Endowed with gorgeous fruit, texture, purity and elegance, this relatively dense second wine demonstrates how draconian the selection process has become for the top estates in Bordeaux in recent years. The blend of this wine is 52% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest mostly Cabernet Franc with just a touch of Petit Verdot. I would expect it to last at least 20 years, which is remarkable.
Kudos to the team at Haut-Brion and to the proprietors, the Dillon family, who are now represented admirably and meticulously by Prince Robert of Luxembourg. He has made some changes, and all of them seem to have resulted in dramatic improvements to what was already an astonishing group of wines.
Probably the greatest second wine made at this estate since the 1989 Bahans-Haut-Brion, this blend of 52% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot reveals elegant minerality along with lots of sweet black cherry and raspberry fruit intermixed with hints of damp earth and forest floor. Medium to full-bodied and lush, it should drink beautifully for 10-15 years.