La Mission Haut Brion - Pessac-Léognan

100 points - The Wine Advocate
99 points - The Wine Advocate
96 points - The Wine Advocate
99 points - The Wine Advocate
98 points - The Wine Advocate
95 points - The Wine Advocate
96 points - The Wine Advocate
100 points - The Wine Advocate
100 points - The Wine Advocate
95 points - The Wine Advocate
95 points - The Wine Advocate
100 points - The Wine Advocate
90 points - The Wine Advocate
93 points - The Wine Advocate
92 points - The Wine Advocate
100 points - The Wine Advocate
100 points - The Wine Advocate
83 points - The Wine Advocate
La Mission Haut Brion - Pessac-Léognan - 2019 - 75cl - Onshore Cellars

La Mission Haut Brion - Pessac-Léognan

100 points - The Wine Advocate
99 points - The Wine Advocate
96 points - The Wine Advocate
99 points - The Wine Advocate
98 points - The Wine Advocate
95 points - The Wine Advocate
96 points - The Wine Advocate
100 points - The Wine Advocate
100 points - The Wine Advocate
95 points - The Wine Advocate
95 points - The Wine Advocate
100 points - The Wine Advocate
90 points - The Wine Advocate
93 points - The Wine Advocate
92 points - The Wine Advocate
100 points - The Wine Advocate
100 points - The Wine Advocate
83 points - The Wine Advocate
Vintage
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One of the wines of the vintage, the 2000 has barely budged in its evolution since it was bottled and released in 2002. After ten years in bottle, it still reveals a dense opaque purple color along with a potentially sensational bouquet of blueberries, black currants, graphite, asphalt and background oak. Extremely powerful, full-bodied and superbly concentrated with good acidity and high but round tannins, this massive La Mission-Haut-Brion should take its place among this estate’s most hallowed vintages when it hits full maturity in another one to two decades. I was surprised by just how youthful this wine tasted at age 12. If tasted blind, I would have guessed it to be around 4 to 5 years old.
The 2019 La Mission Haut-Brion unwinds in the glass with aromas of inky berry fruit, wild plums and cherries mingled with notions of warm spices, burning embers and creamy new oak. Full-bodied, deep and layered, it's rich and concentrated, with a deep core of fruit, bright acids and fine, powdery tannins. Powerful and tightly wound, this is less sumptuous and demonstrative out of the gates than its sibling Haut-Brion, but I suspect it possesses even greater potential.
Composed of 56% Merlot, 4.4% Cabernet Franc and 39.6% Cabernet Sauvignon, the deep garnet-purple colored 2017 La Mission Haut-Brion is a little reticent on the nose to begin, slowly unfurling to reveal notes of crushed blackcurrants, Black Forest cake and Morello cherries with suggestions of cigar box, pencil shavings, charcoal and fertile loam. Medium-bodied, the palate has fantastic intensity with loads of mineral layers and a rock-solid line of firm, grainy tannins, finishing very long and with great energy.
The 2016 La Mission Haut-Brion is a blend of 57.5% Merlot and 42.5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep garnet-purple in color, it is just a little muted to begin, soon unfurling to reveal slowly growing scents of crushed blackcurrants, black cherries, dark chocolate and candied violets with nuances of crushed rocks, tobacco leaf, forest floor and fragrant earth plus a hint of bergamot. Medium-bodied and exquisitely elegant, the palate offers perfectly ripe, fine-grained tannins and tons of freshness with layer upon layer of perfumed fruit and a very long, ferrous-laced finish.
The deep garnet-purple colored 2015 La Mission Haut-Brion is a blend of 58% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. Youthfully mute with bright, youthful red currants, black raspberries, cassis and freshly crushed blackberries notions, it slowly unfurls to reveal an earthy/minerally undercurrent of damp soil, charcoal, iron ore and truffles plus a waft of violets. Medium to full-bodied, decadently fruited and yet wonderfully elegant with very ripe, very silky tannins, freshness that sits well in the background and an almost electric intensity of vibrant red and black fruit flavours, it finishes long and minerally. Just. Beautiful.
The 2014 La Mission Haut Brion is a blend of 54% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, picked between 15 September and 8 October and raised in 55% new oak. It has retained that engagingly fresh and vibrant bouquet, the bashful nature that it showed in barrel replaced by a more outgoing personality. This is an exquisite bouquet with pure black fruit, cold stone, a touch of black olive and later a suggestion of boysenberry preserve. The palate is still structured and considering that a majority is Merlot, quite masculine. There remains some new oak to be fully assimilated, although there is clearly the fruit to soak that up. It comes more alive on the second half with a lovely spiciness and impressive persistence. It will have more to give down the line and the strictness implies that this La Mission Haut Brion should be afforded a decade in the cellar before it will show what it can do.
The 2012 La Mission Haut-Brion showed brilliantly. It has an intense, floral bouquet with rose petals and strawberry preserve, hints of sous-bois and tobacco gently unfolding in the glass, gaining more earthiness as it aerates in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, broad and spicy with hints of bell pepper suggesting high quality Cabernet Franc. It fans out gloriously with a sustained tertiary finish that completes what is a wondrous La Mission Haut-Brion from Jean-Philippe Delmas and his team.
Deep garnet colored, the 2010 La Mission Haut-Brion has a commanding, profound nose of baked blackberries, boysenberries and warm cassis plus suggestions of candied violets, red roses, chocolate box, cedar chest and smoked meats with a waft of iron ore. Full-bodied, powerful and hedonic, the palate bursts with expressive black fruits and floral sparks, framed by exquisitely ripe, grainy tannins and beautiful freshness, finishing with epic length. A real head-turner, this beauty is already very impressive, but for that full WOW experience I would give it another 3-5 years in bottle to blossom.
The deep garnet colored 2009 La Mission Haut-Brion absolutely sings of warm red and black currants, chocolate-covered cherries, liquid licorice, sassafras and espresso with hint of lilacs, pencil shavings and truffles. Full-bodied, rich, bold and oh-so-decadent in the mouth, the palate is completely packed with black fruit preserves and exotic spice layers, framed by wonderfully velvety tannins and seamless freshness, finishing epically long. Wow!
Like a lot of wines in this underrated vintage, the 2008 La Mission was one of the great bargains of recent vintages. Its healthy blue/purple color is followed by aromas of blueberries, black raspberries, licorice, truffles, underbrush and forest floor. The scorched earthy/smoky character of this estate’s terroir has not yet emerged. Medium to full-bodied and concentrated with good acidity, freshness and delineation, this is a big wine for the vintage, but also very classic in its balance of tannin, acidity and extract. It will benefit from another 5-7 years of cellaring and should keep for three decades.
The 2006 La Mission Haut-Brion is showing very well at age 15, and even though it's still five or six years away from the beginning of its plateau of maturity, it is already quite expressive, wafting from the glass with aromas of blackberries and blackcurrants mingled with notions of smoke, cigar wrapper, black truffle and loamy soil. Full-bodied, fleshy and muscular, with a richly layered core of fruit framed by an abundance of ripe, powdery tannin.
The 2005 La Mission Haut-Brion is pure perfection. It has an absolutely extraordinary nose of sweet blackberries, cassis and spring flowers with some underlying minerality, a full-bodied mouthfeel, gorgeously velvety tannins (which is unusual in this vintage) and a long, textured, multi-layered finish that must last 50+ seconds. This is a fabulous wine and a great effort from this hallowed terroir. Drink this modern-day legend over the next 30+ years.
While La Mission Haut-Brion’s 2004 is not one of this estate’s top successes, it is an outstanding wine, no doubt because of this extraordinary terroir. Deep ruby/purple with notes of lead pencil shavings intermixed with black cherries, cassis, and a hint of scorched earth, medium body, sweet tannin, and a good, but uninspiring finish, this attractive, mid-weight La Mission should age nicely for 15 or more years.
The top wines of this vintage tend to be from St.-Emilion’s limestone hillsides and the corridor between St.-Julien and St.-Estephe, but the 2003 La Mission-Haut-Brion is a very successful effort from the south. Roasted herb, scorched earth, sweet black currant and tar-like aromas jump from the glass of this evolved, mature effort. While copious tannins are still present, the acid is low and the wine is loosely structured, complex, seductive, fleshy and full. It seems to be aging quickly, so owners are well-advised to check a bottle or two as it appears to be close to full maturity. The 2003 is unlikely to last as long as more classic vintages.
This vintage again demonstrates what an extraordinary terroir La Mission-Haut-Brion possesses. It was not an easy year, with rain, flowering issues and uncooperative weather in the critical months of August and September, but the vineyard’s superb drainage and La Mission’s ability to produce fascinating aromatics even in difficult vintages triumphs again. Classic Graves aromas of charcoal, scorched earth, red and black fruits, truffles, graphite and melted tar emerge from this dark garnet/plum-colored 1994. In the mouth, there is some angularity and rustic tannins remaining, but they are not out of balance. With medium to full body as well as more depth than many of its peers, the wine appears to be close to full maturity. However, with this level of acidity and tannin, it is not likely to fall apart any time soon.
Both La Mission-Haut-Brion and Haut-Brion hit home runs in this vintage, which did not produce as many profound wines as the Bordeaux publicity machine suggested. 1989, the 200th anniversary of the French revolution, was an incredibly hot year (surpassed only by 1990 and 2003). Even from barrel the seamless 1989 La Mission revealed a special elixir aspect, tasting like it had been designed by Chanel. It still possesses a blue/purple color with only a hint of garnet creeping in, and the explosive aromatics offer up notes of licorice, creme de cassis, blueberry liqueur, smoky barbecue meats, truffles and graphite. If that’s not enough to get one salivating, the palate has never disappointed either. Full-bodied with extraordinary opulence as well as sweet, well-integrated, velvety tannins, this fresh, lively, blockbuster La Mission appears to be one of those rare wines that never goes through a closed, unfriendly stage. It has been a compelling, multidimensional effort from barrel, in its infancy, and as it heads into late adolescence. A remarkable tour de force in winemaking, it is one of the all-time profound La Mission-Haut-Brions.
One of the great wines of the vintage, and the last produced under the ownership of the Woltner family, the 1982 La Mission Haut-Brion remains remarkably youthful, exhibiting a saturated ruby-black hue. Unfurling in the glass with rich aromas of black fruits, cigar smoke, loamy soil, black truffle, peat and pencil shavings, it's full-bodied, broad and concentrated, with a deep core of fruit, ripe tannins and a long, expansive finish. Over the last decade, the wine has become increasingly seamless and elegant, without losing any of its vitality, and it is now clear, if it were ever in doubt, that this wine can stand alongside vintages such as 1961 and 1955 as one of the great La Mission Haut-Brions of the 20th century. Readers should note that the La Tour Haut-Brion of the same vintage performs at a very similar level of quality.
The nose actually has more intensity and freshness than the bottle tasted at The Arches on a couple of occasions. A “smudged” nose with touches of boot polish and earth. The palate does not quite have the vitality of the ’62, a hint of sour cherry on the entry but a hollow middle with a simple cedar-tinged finish. Past its best.
Type:
Red
Country:
France
Region:
Bordeaux
Appellation:
Pessac-Léognan
Producer:
Château La Mission Haut-Brion
Grapes/Blend:
Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
Serving temp:
16° - 18° C
ABV:
13.5%

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Behind the bottle

Bordeaux - Onshore Cellars

Bordeaux

Bordeaux, in the southwest of France, needs little introduction as one of the world's most famous, prestigious and prolific wine regions. The majority of Bordeaux wines (nearly 90...
Bordeaux, in the southwest of France, needs little introduction as one of the world's most famous, prestigious and prolific wine regions. The majority of Bordeaux wines (nearly 90 percent of production volume) are the dry, medium- and full-bodied red Bordeaux Blends that established its reputation.

The finest (and most expensive) of these are the wines from the great châteaux of the Haut-Médoc and the Right Bank appellations Saint-Émilion and Pomerol. The former is focused (at the top level) on Cabernet Sauvignon, the latter pair on on Merlot.

The legendary reds are complemented by high-quality white wines based on Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. These range from dry whites to challenge the best from the Burgundy region (Pessac-Léognan is particularly renowned) to the sweet, botrytized nectars of Sauternes.
Explore Bordeaux
Pessac-Léognan

Pessac-Léognan

Established in 1987, the Pessac-Léognan appellation is relatively young compared to other Bordeaux appellations. However, its history is deeply rooted in the ancient vineyards of the Graves region,...

Established in 1987, the Pessac-Léognan appellation is relatively young compared to other Bordeaux appellations. However, its history is deeply rooted in the ancient vineyards of the Graves region, which have been producing wine since Roman times. The Pessac-Léognan appellation lies just south of the city of Bordeaux, and its terroir is characterised by gravelly soils, providing excellent drainage and heat retention, which are essential for producing the region's highly-regarded wines.

The production methods used in Pessac-Léognan reflect the region's dedication to quality, innovation, and tradition. Winemakers here employ a combination of traditional and modern techniques, including hand harvesting, meticulous grape selection, and temperature-controlled fermentation. The use of oak barrels for ageing is common, imparting complexity and elegance to the wines. The region is best known for its red wines, which are typically a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, with smaller amounts of Petit Verdot and Malbec. However, Pessac-Léognan also produces exceptional white wines, made primarily from Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon grapes, often with a touch of Muscadelle.

One of the most iconic wine producers in Pessac-Léognan is Château Haut-Brion, a First Growth estate with a history dating back to the 16th century. Haut-Brion is known for its robust, full-bodied red wines, which exude elegance and complexity with layers of dark fruit, graphite, and earthy undertones. The estate is also renowned for its dry white wines, crafted from a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, displaying notes of citrus, honeysuckle, and mineral complexity.

Another celebrated producer in the Pessac-Léognan appellation is Château La Mission Haut-Brion, a historic estate dating back to the 17th century. La Mission Haut-Brion produces exceptional red wines with a reputation for intensity, depth, and longevity. These wines are characterised by their opulent fruit flavours, integrated tannins, and notes of tobacco, leather, and truffle.

Domaine de Chevalier is a highly-regarded producer of both red and white wines in Pessac-Léognan. Established in the 19th century, Domaine de Chevalier is committed to sustainable viticulture practices and a deep respect for its terroir. The estate's red wines are known for their elegance and finesse, with a focus on Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, while its white wines showcase the complex interplay between Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, offering notes of citrus, pear, and subtle oak influence.

Château Smith Haut Lafitte, another prominent producer in the Pessac-Léognan appellation, boasts a history spanning over 800 years. Smith Haut Lafitte is dedicated to organic and biodynamic farming practices and is known for its refined red wines, which display a harmonious balance of fruit, tannins, and acidity, with notes of blackcurrant, cedar, and spice. The estate's white wines are equally impressive, offering a vibrant expression of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Sauvignon Gris, with hints of citrus, white flowers, and minerality.

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