Nose is broody, backward, lacks definition, with suppressed fruit. Classic palate: introspective dark fruit, mineral, smoky with tension. Quite complex. In terms of investibility, this second wine from Haut Brion indeed consistently lagged behind most second wines of First Growth(Lafite, Mouton and Margaux, to quote). So this wine is by always of excellent value and for future, if you fancy this style versus that of La Mission.
Scores are controversial.
The 2016 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion is a blend of 50.3% Merlot, 13.1% Cabernet Franc, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2.6% Petit Verdot. It has a little more fruit compared to the La Chapelle de la Mission Haut Brion, yet not quite the same mineral tension or complexity. The palate is medium-bodied with supple black fruit, a fine line of acidity and gentle grip, but I would be seeking a little more personality and depth towards the finish. That said, it does have commendable freshness, but my money would be on the La Chapelle this year. Drink 2020-2032.
Score: 89/91 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (230), April 2017
This is powerful and intense with lots of minerals, crushed stones and dark fruit. Dense and linear. Minerally and very energetic.
Score: 94/95 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, March 2017
The 2016 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion is a dense, powerful wine. I have no doubt that at other times in Bordeaux's history, the 2016 Clarence could have passed for Grand Vin in terms of its quality. Gravel, wood smoke, tobacco, incense and dried flowers infuse a core of dark red stone fruits in this powerful, voluptuous second wine from Haut-Brion. This is a tremendous showing.
Score: 91/94 Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, April 2017