Chateau La Tour Haut Brion Pessac Leognan, Complete Guide

Learn everything about Chateau La Tour Haut Brion, Pessac Leognan, with wine tasting notes and, wine with food pairings. Learn the best vintages, a history of the property, information on vineyards and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles

Chateau La Tour Haut Brion History, Overview

The vineyards of Chateau La Tour Haut Brion were planted for the first time in the 16th century by the Rostaing family. At the time, the estate was known as La Tour de Rostaing. The property was also called La Tour d’Esquivens.

By the early 1800s, the wines were selling under the name of La Tour. The owners of the property in the mid-nineteenth century, the Cayrou brothers changed the name of the estate to Chateau La Tour Haut-Brion.

In 1890, Chateau La Tour Haut Brion was sold again, becoming the property of Victor Coustau. Prior to the purchase of La Tour Haut Brion by the Coustau family, the wine was made at La Tour Haut Brion. In about 1900, Victor Coustau purchased a neighboring Graves estate, Chateau La Mission Haut Brion.

After the purchase, it was decided that the wines of Chateau La Tour Haut Brion from that point forward would be produced in the cellars of Chateau La Mission Haut Brion. This explains why no official chateau or winery existed for La Tour Haut-Brion.

Victor Coustau passed away in 1924. From there, Chateau La Tour Haut Brion was sold to the Woltner family. The Woltner’s of course knew the property well, as they already owned Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion. When the wines of the Graves appellation were classified: 1959 Classification of the Graves region, Chateau La Tour Haut Brion was the smallest of all the vineyards included in the classification.

Chateau La Tour Haut Brion remained the property of the Woltner family for close to six decades until they eventually sold the vineyard to the owners of Chateau Haut Brion.

Chateau La Tour Haut Brion Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking

The 5-hectare vineyard of Chateau La Tour Haut Brion was planted to 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. The terroir consisted of deep, gravel-based soils. On average, the wine was aged in 30% new, French oak barrels for between 18 and 22 months.

Production was small. It hovered around 2,000 cases of wine in an average vintage. As we mentioned earlier, the wines were vinified at Chateau La Mission Haut Brion and received the same care and treatment as the wines of Chateau La Mission Haut Brion. The same technical team was in charge of both estates, in the vineyards, and in the wine cellars.

Prior to 1983, Chateau La Tour Haut Brion was considered the second wine of Chateau La Mission Haut Brion by some people, but that is not the case, for at least most of its life. Keep in mind, the estate was part of the classification of 1959, and second wines could not be classified. But for a period of time, in some ways, it could have been considered a second wine by consumers.

If that is the case, that is truly amazing when you consider how good these wines were. 1982 La Tour Haut Brion remains a sublime Bordeaux wine and one of the top wines ever produced by this chateau. Other older vintages are of equal, high quality.

The 1961 Chateau La Tour Haut Brion remains a legend. I’d like to try a bottle one day. It’s certainly on my bucket list! The Woltner family sold La Tour Haut Brion in 1983 to the owners of Chateau Haut Brion, Clarence Dillon.

After 1983, the wine was no longer considered as the second wine of La Mission Haut Brion. It was produced and sold on its own merits. Today, Chateau La Tour Haut Brion no longer exists. It was merged into Chateau La Mission Haut Brion in 2006. The final vintage from Chateau La Tour Haut Brion took place in 2005.

The best vintages of Chateau La Tour Haut Brion 2005, 2000, 1982, 1978, 1961, 1959, 1955 and 1945. Other, older vintages could be worth taking a chance on at auction, if the wines are in good condition with provenance, as La Tour Haut Brion is powerful, tannic, concentrated wine, made to age and develop.

When to Drink Chateau La Tour Haut Brion, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time

Chateau La Tour Haut Brion needs time before it begins to show its true character. La Tour Haut Brion needs at least 10-15 years of aging in good vintages until it is ready to be enjoyed. Young vintages can be decanted for 2-4 hours or more

This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau La Tour Haut Brion offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 15-50 years of age after the vintage.

Serving Chateau La Tour Haut Brion, with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips

Chateau La Tour Haut Brion is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. The wine of Chateau La Tour Haut Brion is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised, and grilled dishes.

Château La Tour Haut-Brion Wine Tasting Notes

12 Vintages 65,392 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating

2005 Château La Tour Haut-Brion  (Pessac-Léognan) 90

The final vintage for this wine, before it was decided to blend in with the second wine of La Mission Haut Brion serves up a smoke filled, tannic, slightly rustic wine with tobacco, forest and black cherry aromas. Give it at least 5-10 more years to soften and develop. 90 Points

7,222 Views   Tasted
2004 Château La Tour Haut-Brion  (Pessac-Léognan) 89

Better on the nose, with its smoky, cherry pipe tobacco and forest floor scents, than on the black cherry and leafy palate. 89 Points

2,807 Views   Tasted
2000 Château La Tour Haut-Brion  (Pessac-Léognan) 91

Full bodied, tannic and on the masculine side fo the style range, with 2 hours in the decanter and some effort, wet earth, tobacco, cedar chest and tobacco notes begin to emerge. Still young, perhaps 5 more years in the bottle should allow the wine to soften and develop its aromatics. 91 Points

3,527 Views   Tasted
1996 Château La Tour Haut-Brion  (Pessac-Léognan) 85

Tannic, rustic, medium bodied and better on the nose than the palate, there is not much fruit left in this wine. I'd opt for drinking this sooner than later. 85 Points

3,564 Views   Tasted
1995 Château La Tour Haut-Brion  (Pessac-Léognan) 90

Tannic, youthful, austere, full bodied, strict style of wine, with a beguiling nose of tobacco, cigar store, burning wood and red berries. Concentrated and tannic, this is classic in every sense of the word. Another decade might help soften things out, but that is a very long to wait for this to come around. 90 Points

2,863 Views   Tasted
1990 Château La Tour Haut-Brion  (Pessac-Léognan) 92

Concentrated, powerful, beefy and leaning slightly to the rustic side with its tannins, the nose is just great. It is all about the cigar box, tobacco, smoked meat, cedar and spicy side, with a jumble of red fruits. This is not a delicate wine. Instead, it is quite old-school. This is close to its peak level of maturity. 92 Points

2,987 Views   Tasted
1989 Château La Tour Haut-Brion  (Pessac-Léognan) 91

Great, complex, smoky, tobacco, cigar box, campfire and dark red fruit nose. Powerful and concentrated on the palate, but the wine is on the stern, rustic, unforgiving side. 91 Points

3,002 Views   Tasted
1982 Château La Tour Haut-Brion  (Pessac-Léognan) 93

A very good example of old school claret with a lot of tobacco, cedar, smoke and cigar box notes on the nose. Big, powerful and a bit too tannic for its own good. There is a strong, gruff character to the tannins and a strictness found here, that is going to be a turn on to folks thinking the best wines in Bordeaux were made before 1961. There is no hurry to drink it, it is always going to retain its character, even as the wine evolves. 93 Points

3,487 Views   Tasted

Cedar wood, mint, tobacco, smoke, burnt wood, blackberry, cassis and tar create the nose. Big, tannic, full bodied and powerful, the wine packs an old school, beefy character filled with a wallop of cassis, green pepper and cherry griotte. This is the finest example of 82 La Tour Haut Brion I’ve ever tasted. Other bottles have not shown as well. 97 Points

3,382 Views   Tasted

Still on the young side, this classic style of Bordeaux is tannic, powerful, concentrated and firm, with complex aromatics and depth. This is good now and will get even better with time. 94 Points

4,057 Views   Tasted

Masculine, powerful, tannic and structured, the fruit is quality, the structure is there for further aging, but this is not a delicate, elegant or refined wine that you can sip easily, it requires thought and concentration, plus an appreciation for the type of Bordeaux wine made 30, 40 or 50 years ago. 94 Points

3,533 Views   Tasted

Served double blind, this bottle looked and tasted much older than it should have. Cassis, blackberry, cedar and earthy scents revealed a wine that was soft, polished and round in texture. This bottle was prematurely aged as other, recent examples displayed more tannin along with a stronger expression of its traditional, rustic personality. I have had much better examples of this classic, Pessac Leognan wine. 93 Points

3,526 Views   Tasted

Smoke, leather, tar, hot bricks, tobacco, eucalypts, blackberry, cassis and spice scents produce an intriguing perfume. Make no bones about it, this is an old school, rustic, masculine style of wine. It's powerful, steely, slightly austere, full bodied and still has tannin to resolve. For lovers of old school Bordeaux that could be how wine from the 20's, 30's and 40's were made, this is for you. I have a few bottles in my cellar that in the name of science, I'm waiting at least another 10-20 years to open. 94 Points

3,511 Views   Tasted

This beefy, powerful rustic, old school style of Graves is not made any more. Powerful, concentrated and intense, the wine is packed with smoke, spice, cedar, tobacco, cassis and tannin. Brawny, potent and packed with layers of chewy Cabernet Sauvignon, this is still tannic and requires a few more years. However, it's always going to retain it's old school style. The final vintage of La Tour Haut Brion was 2006. The wine is now part of the second wine for La Mission Haut Brion. 95 Points

3,478 Views   Tasted

Cassis, tar, scorched earth and herbal aromas are easy to discern. This is a powerful, brawny, forceful, extremely tannic, rustic, masculine style of wine that needs another decade to round out. 94 Points

3,677 Views   Tasted
1978 Château La Tour Haut-Brion  (Pessac-Léognan) 94

This wine, or was it the bottle, seemed like it was from the 90’s. This dark, powerful wine was stuffed with cigar box, tar, leather, tobacco, cassis and truffle notes. Dense and concentrated with a slightly brawny personality, this potent brew finished with a long sensation of smoky black fruit and spicy dark berries. 94 Points

3,480 Views   Tasted
1959 Château La Tour Haut-Brion  (Pessac-Léognan) 90

The problem with this bottle was the VA, which marred what otherwise could be a very good wine. Still, there is concentration, depth, vivacity and layers of tart, fresh, ripe, smoky, ash and tar nuanced berries. I imagine a clean bottle of this would be a knockout. 90 Points

2,187 Views   Tasted
1953 Château La Tour Haut-Brion  (Pessac-Léognan) 95

Robust, rustic, charming and classic, this was a treat to have in my glass. The wine has presence, depth, complexity, concentration and length. It was amazing to find this much power as it inches its way past its 65th birthday. 95 Points

2,001 Views   Tasted
1949 Château La Tour Haut-Brion  (Pessac-Léognan) 88

There are some vestiges of red fruits remaining, but you need to look deep inside all the cedar, tobacco leaf, cigar box, and tobacco smoke to find them. The finish is short, but such is life when a wine is almost 73 years of age. 88 Points

1,742 Views   Tasted

File this under the "Wines I never thought I'd taste category," this must have been a beauty in its youth. Smoky, earthy, tar, leather, herbs, green leaf and wet forest floor notes held court over the remaining red fruits. A little rustic, this is a nice example of a classic, old-school, fading claret that was probably a lot of fun to taste during its hey-day. 87 Points

1,359 Views   Tasted