Château Laville Haut Brion
Classification: Grand Cru (Graves Classification 1953)
Chateau Laville Haut Brion is the white wine made by Château La Mission Haut Brion and as of the 2009 vintage it will be named Château La Mission Haut Brion Blanc. Laville Haut Brion lies in the commune of Talence and unlike its neighbours there is no grand chateau building on the estate. Laville Haut Brion was originally acquired in 1611 by Marie de Laville, widow of Sir de Queyrac, a wealthy Bordeaux magistrate and has kept her name down the centuries.
The estate remained in the family for over a hundred years, until it was sold in 1717 to Bernard Gaussens. In 1931 it was sold to Frédéric-Otto Woltner, owner of neighbouring estates Château La Mission Haut Brion and Château La Tour Haut Brion. The decision to plant white grape varieties was made in 1923 due to the clay and gravel in the vineyard being more suitable for white wines. In the 1953 Classification of Graves, Château Laville Haut Brion was rated a Premier Cru as the only one of the classed chateaux to be exclusive producers of white wine.
The family eventually sold their estates in 1983 to the Dillon Family, owners of Château Haut Brion since 1935, uniting four Haut Brion chateaux under Domaine Clarence Dillon.
The Clos Laville vineyard neighbours that of La Mission Haut Brion and covers 6.3 acres. The vines are planted on gravelly clay soils laying over a bedrock of chalky sand and are 85% Semillon, 14% Sauvignon Blanc and 1% Muscadelle. The wine is very scarce as only 500 – 700 cases are produced each year and it is much sought after as one of the iconic whites of Bordeaux.
The wines of Laville Haut Brion are often compared to the best of white Burgundies and have a rounded, polished style with flavours of pear, melon and sometimes smoke. Well balanced with good acidity they are fresh and full of character. Owing to the presence of the Semillon the wine has remarkable longevity and can be cellared for up to 30 years.