Whether it was founded by an Irishman named O’Brien, or O’Brion, as some have speculated, has not been proven. Also records do indicate that a place called “Aubrion” (Meaning High mound of gravel) existed as early as the 14th century. Chateau Haut-Brion was the first wine from Bordeaux ever to be sold under the name of its estate where it was made. In 1653 the diarist Samuel Pepys noted that in the Royal Oak Tavern in London he had drunk “a sort of French wine called Ho Bryan that bath a good and most particular taste that I ever met with”-he was of course referring to Haut-Brion.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) also spoke highly of the wine when he was Ambassador to France. It was also the only wine outside the Medoc to be included in the 1855 classification. And under this classification it was rated as a first growth. It also heads the official classification of 13 red Graves made in 1953. The Chateau itself was built in 1550 and Jean de Pontac is credited with the origin of the vineyards.One thing that distinguishes the wines of Haut-Brion, is the new bottle that they designed, with a longer neck and more rounded body, very much in the style of earlier 18th century claret bottles. This was first used for the 1958 vintage. The attractive picture of the Chateau on the label was abandoned around the 1920’s for poorer versions. However the original stone on which this fine picture was engraved was still in existence, and from the1974 vintage on, the label has been essentially the same as the first style.
Second label: Bahans-Haut-Brion.