Although the vineyard has been active in the region since at least Roman times, the first mention of vineyards of Haut-Brion dates back only to 1423. In the early days, the wines were known by the name of the parishes where they came from. In the case of Haut-Brion, under the leadership of Pontac, the wine first bore the name of this noble and respectable family. Haut Brion was founded in 1525 by Jean de Pontac and since famous people have succeeded. The last of them, Clarence Douglas Dillon, was Minister of Finance of the United States under the Kennedy administration. As its reputation grew, the name of the estate came to replace that of its owners. The concept of Grand Cru is born! We find the first mention in the diary of Samuel Pepys, who wrote April 10, 1663: "I just tasted a French wine called Ho-Bryan (sic) which has the best and most special taste I've ever enountered."
The four finest second wines (wines made from declassified first-growth cuvees) I have ever tasted are the 1982 and 1990 Forts de Latour, 1989 Bahans-Haut-Brion, and 1995 Pavillon de Chateau Margaux. I am amazed by just how delicious the 1989 Bahans-Haut-Brion continues to be. Although it is approaching full maturity, it reveals no signs of amber. The 1989 is a textbook Graves in its sweet, blackcurrant, tobacco, roasted herb-scented nose. Medium to full-bodied, with succulent texture, rich, fleshy flavors, and low acidity, it is a pure, beautifully made wine.
Along with very firm tannins, this wine shows fresh blackberry and stone aromas and flavors and a velvety mouth-feel. Quite dense on the palate.