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 *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Administrative Assistant

Swig Wines Ltd
Chiswick, London, UK

HR Manager

Amathus Drinks PLC
London, UK

Beer Development Specialist

Matthew Clark
London, UK

Senior Sales Manager

Haynes Hanson & Clark
Gloucestershire, GB

Customer Services Administrator

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

National Business Development Manager

Speciality Drinks Group
London, UK

Inventory Analyst

Bibendum PLB
London, UK

Events Executive - Atom Supplies

ATOM Supplies Limited
London, UK

Off-Trade Sales Account Executive

Domaine Direct
Nationwide, working from a combination of home & London office.

Sales Executive/Brand Ambassador

Glenfarclas
Ballindalloch, Speyside, UK

Client Manager

Noble Rot
Wandsworth, London, GB

Spirits Investment Director

Stilnovisti
London, UK

Junior Brand Manager

Enotria Winecellars
Park Royal, London, UK

Content & Digital Assistant

ABVGlobal
London, UK

Sales Manager

Cellar Trends
London, UK

Champagne Masters 2017

Deadline : 7th July 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th July 2017

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th July 2017

The Global Syrah Masters 2017

Deadline : 18th July 2017

Click to view more

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Rioja Masters 2016

Now in its fifth year, the competition will recognise and reward the finest Riojas on the world stage.

Fortified Masters 2016

Now in its third year, The Fortified Masters will reward the best fortified wines on offer.

Click to view more