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92-95 Points | Stephen Tanzer's IWC - April 2013
(65.5% merlot, 32.5% cabernet sauvignon and 2% cabernet franc; 44 h/h): Deep ruby-red. Compelling perfume of dark berries, red cherry, licorice, violet and bitter chocolate. Highly concentrated and penetrating, with superb sappiness to the rich flavors of raspberry, brown spices, cocoa powder and smoky black pepper. This big, rich wine displays outstanding spine and grip on the very long finish. Given the vintage's characteristics, greatly increasing the percentage of merlot was the right thing to do in 2012. "It's a return to the Haut-Brion wines of the late '90s," said Haut-Brion's owner, Prince Robert of Luxembourg, "when perhaps we were getting a little carried away with merlot in our blend. But in 2012, we had no choice." Haut-Brion is clearly the best of the Left Bank first growths in 2012. In fact, only Léoville-Las Cases can match it for sheer breed and class, but Haut-Brion is the more opulent of the two wines.