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Haut Future

A new generation at Haut-Brion continues a long tradition of making some of Bordeaux's finest wine
Bruce Schoenfeld
From the Print Edition:
Bill Murray, Nov/Dec 2004

(continued from page 3)

It might have seemed awkward for the owner's son—and a member of European royalty, at that—to sit at the feet of a paid worker for a tutorial. Yet that's exactly what happened. "He asked questions, a lot of questions," Jean-Philippe says. "Questions about the terroir, the wine making, the commercial aspects, the communications. He never hesitated to ask a single one, and I respect that very much." Seven years on, Robert is still asking. "But he asks less and less," Jean-Philippe says, "because he knows more and more. His knowledge about the technique is more than very good. I can come to him and talk about technical matters, and he knows what I am saying. And if I come to him saying that we have to make changes, he will understand exactly why." When lunch ends, the party moves to a parlor for coffee. At exactly three o'clock, Robert rises. As if on cue, everyone else does, too. Hands are shaken and the group walks outside into the heat of the afternoon. A car is waiting in the driveway to take Julie and the three children to the airport, and from there to London. The youngest are safely buckled inside, but six-year-old Alexander doesn't want to leave. He sits beneath a tree in the garden just beyond the vineyards, his hands gripping the very terrain that his family has sunk their roots into so deeply.

Robert strides across the driveway and gently lifts his son to his chest. He carries him to the car, whispering in his ear as he walks: a descendant of the Bourbons doing the duty of fathers everywhere. The scene is both magisterial and commonplace, a moment as elemental as the soil, yet as rich as the finest wine. That, too, is Haut-Brion. v

Bruce Schoenfeld often writes about wine for Cigar Aficionado and recently authored The Match: Althea Gibson & Angela Buxton (HarperCollins).


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