You are currently viewing the International Edition. You can also switch to the Hong Kong Edition.
Monday 6 July 2015

Haut-Brion ‘oldest’ luxury brand in the world

24th April, 2013 by db_staff

The oldest recorded brand in the world still in existence today is Château Haut-Brion, the Bordeaux first growth has claimed – and challenged historians to find an older mention of the estate, writes Laura Ivill.

Haut-Brion/Cambridge

The Haut-Brion dinner at Cambridge earlier this month

The château backed up its claim by referencing the famous, “Ho Bryan” entry in the popular 17th century diarist Samuel Pepys’ records from 350 years ago in 1663.

Prince Robert of Luxembourg, head of Domaine Clarence Dillon which owns Château Haut-Brion, hosted a Cambridge Wine Society dinner at Pepys’s alma mater, Magdalene College, earlier this month (10 April).

“The entry is the first mention of Bordeaux wines with a description,” Prince Robert said, quoting Pepys’ tasting note, which reads: “Off to the Exchange with Sir J Cutler and Mr Grant to the Royall Oak Taverne in Lumbard Street… And there drank a sort of French wine called Ho Bryan that hath a good and most particular taste that I never met with.”

However, the earliest-ever recording of the château’s wine pre-dates even that. It is in the cellar ledger of Charles II on his return from France. In the years 1660 and 1661, 169 bottles of the “wine of Hobriono” were served to guests of the royal table.

This is the first known record of a wine bearing the name of its estate. Up to this point wines were generically known by their region of origin.

“This may make us the first luxury brand in the world,” Prince Robert proposed.

“The earliest mention of Haut-Brion is in the 1660 cellar book of Charles II in the Kew Public Archives. We have been in existence as a vineyard for 2,000 years, and were formed in the 16th century when other first growths didn’t exist.” This is a reference to the construction of the original château in 1549 by Jean de Pontac.

Prince Robert also launched a competition for researchers to uncover an, “earlier written mention in a new document” of his brand for “a significant prize”.

“Ho Bryan” was an example of a new style of wine, the New French Claret, which had the potential for ageing in bottle. It was also the beginning of a marketing push by the French to get us to drink even more of their export.

In 1666, the son of Arnaud III de Pontac, Francois-Auguste, opened an upmarket tavern in London selling Haut-Brion wine, called L’Enseigne de Pontac, which soon became “…the most fashionable place in all London…”

Pepys’ personal library collection of books and paintings, including the diary written in shorthand, is housed at Magdalene College and is open to the public.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

If that's interesting, how about these?

Is fine wine turning a corner?

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 index is finally showing a year-on-year gain as it more...

En primeur: beware the heralded vintage?

From an investment point of view is it best to buy the “vintages of the more...

Rise for Haut Bailly in Liv-ex 2015 classification

Liv-ex’s bi-annual “re-classification” of Bordeaux saw Haut Bailly leap more...

Supplier Relationship Manager

London, United Kingdom

Copa América: Malbec vs Carmenère

Saturday sees Chile and Argentina go head-to-head in football’s Copa América more...

Is Parker wrong about the 05 Médocs?

With no Médoc wines gaining 100-points in Robert Parker’s retrospective of more...

Wine from Napoleon’s carriage to be sold

A bottle of wine apparently found in Napoleon’s carriage after Waterloo – more...

Hatch Mansfield – Brand Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive salary

Fire devastates New Zealand winery

A fire has ripped through a New Zealand winery destroying its offices, kitchen more...

China recognises 'Bordeaux'

China has said it now recognises the term “Bordeaux” as a brand after what more...

Bordeaux 2005: 12 ‘perfect’ wines

Twelve wines have been given “perfect” 100-point ratings in Robert more...

Business Development Executive

London, United Kingdom

£25-£30K + benefits, depending on experience

Bordeaux 2005: Biggest movers

Expectation surrounding the 2005s is building and pushing up prices for top more...

Mumm releases vintage collection

Champagne Mumm has released a new “Collection du Chef de Caves”, featuring more...

Bordeaux wine thieves found guilty

A French court has sentenced 15 men over the audacious theft of $1.1 million of more...

E-commerce, Sales & Marketing Executive

London, United Kingdom

Competitive salary and bonus package based on experience and qualification.

Wine cellar carved into cliff on sale for $3m

A nine-storey deep wine cellar carved into a cliff edge has gone on sale in more...

Hart Davis Hart biggest in US

Chicago-based wine auctioneer Hart Davis Hart is the market leader in the US in more...

Hong Kong: Red obsession

While whites are starting to be taken seriously in Hong Kong restaurants, the more...

World's best beer and wine festivals

Forget Glastonbury, these are the festivals you should be making a beeline for more...

Sutcliffe steps down from Sotheby’s role

Serena Sutcliffe MW has stepped down from her position as worldwide head of more...

The week in pictures

Pub-friendly pooches, Kevin Spacey and a one-off tasting of Achaval Ferrer more...

Digital and Communications Executive

£22,000-£26,000 dependent on experience

Austrian wine importer launches in Hong Kong

A wine importer specialising in Austrian wines has launched in Hong Kong to more...

How to drink like a billionaire

With access to tropical islands, private yachts and the best food and drink more...