This is one of the surprise sleeper wines of the vintage which has more successes than many people suspect in spite of all the rain. The tremendous drainage enjoyed by the Haut Brion vineyard worked in its favor during this wet September harvest. The color is deep plum/ruby with a bit of lightening at the edge. Notes of compost, truffle, earth, spice box, dried herbs, and licorice compete with sweet black cherry and currant fruit. The wine is medium-bodied, with a relatively plump, chewy feel to it. It is certainly one of the top half dozen or so wines of the vintage. The tannins are still there, but the wine seems far more accessible than the two bigger wines that Haut Brion produced in 1995 and 1996. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2024. Last tasted, 11/02.
(Bordeaux Book, 4th Edition, The Wine Advocate 1st Jan 2003)