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The French wine region of Bordeaux is one with an impressive viticultural history. Wine making has been carried out around the banks of the Gironde river for over two and a half thousand years, with archaeological evidence demonstrating that vines were being cultivated there before the Romans arrived in France. Of the great wineries which still operate in Bordeaux, the oldest which has been in continuous use is certainly Chateau Haut Brion, which was producing wine way back in the early 15th century, when monks were using this land to produce wines for religious purposes. Indeed, the oldest written document referring to a particular winery makes mention of Chateau Haut Brion, and during the reign of England’s Charles II in the early 17th century, these wines were bought by the royal household. They were also mentioned in the famed diaries of Samuel Pepys, who mentioned that Chateau Haut Brion wines were finer than any he’d ever tried. Even Thomas Jefferson was a fan, and listed this winery as one of his four favorites after a visit to France.
The Chateau was awarded first growth status in 1855, due to the excellence of its produce and the supremacy of the terroir it used. This is significant, as all of the other premier cru classified wines named in the 1855 document were located in Medoc, with Chateau Haut Brion being the only one found outside of this world-beating sub-region. Today, the winery is overseen by the royal family of Luxembourg, and Prince Robert took over the key management duties in 2008, continuing a tradition of excellence and reverence for fine, blended red wines that stretches back hundreds of years.
Chateau Haut Brion has forty eight hectares, which are characterized by soils of deep gravel and clay - the classic combination for high quality Bordeaux vineyards. This, coupled with the cool climate and long ripening season the region benefits from, ensures grapes of the highest quality and maximum expression. As is typical in Bordeaux, the blended wines of Chateau Haut Brion are made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc varietal grapes, which are combined in order to make red wines of extraordinary balance and complexity.