Merlot plays a special role in this vintage since it forms two thirds of the final blend. The nose is subtle, elegant and very complex, with delicate hints of red fruit, blackberry and blackcurrant as well as more generous notes of liquorice, roasting coffee, oak and a nearly floral side that defies description. The tightly-knit structure is obvious from the beginning. However, it soon appears that the tannin is also quite rich, making the wine soft, rich, juicy and delicious. It already has a beautiful long aftertaste.
Vinous - 97 Points
A big, powerful wine, the 2012 Haut-Brion possesses stunning richness and intensity, with all of the depth that is lacking in so many other wines in this vintage. Not here. The 2012 possesses remarkable depth and tons of raw, animal power that is going to require considerable time in bottle to soften. Readers should be in no rush; the 2012 Haut-Brion is a wine for the ages. Smoke, graphite, dried herbs and blue/purplish stone fruits grace the exotic, alluring finish.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - 96 Points
Tasted blind at the Southwold 2012 tasting, the 2012 Haut-Brion has an open and generous bouquet with blackcurrant pastille, cassis and briary aromas the exude very pure Merlot. The palate is medium-bodied with a sumptuous opening that is rare in 2012: rounded and generous, caressing in the mouth with black plum and blackcurrant towards the finish, residues of truffle and white pepper lingering on the aftertaste that turn very savory after 15 minutes—bacon fat or Italian cured meats. There is a lot to love about this Haut-Brion although in this blind showing I scored it the same as La Mission Haut-Brion. Who will stick their neck out as the two wines mature? Tasted January 2016.
Wine Enthusiast - 96 Points
Firm and solid, this is one of the successes of 2012. It’s properly dark and tough at this stage, with that serious intent that’s a hallmark of Haut-Brion. Layers of firm tannins are interspersed with blackberry fruits and juicy acidity. The wine is dense and concentrated, with the wood aging still showing. This powerful wine will need many years. Best after 2024. Cellar Selection.
James Suckling - 96 Points
Amazing aromas of wet stones, earth, currants and berries. Subtle and complex. Full body and a beautiful core of ripe fruit on the palate and the finish. Round, light, chewy tannins. Needs at least four or five years to open. This is the most merlot ever in Haut-Brion. Rich too. One of the wines of the vintage. 65.5% merlot, 32.5% cabernet sauvignon and 25 cabernet franc. Better in 2020.