La Mission Haut Brion 2009

RegionBordeaux
SubregionPessac-Leognan
ColourRed
TypeStill


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Tasting Notes

A candidate for the wine of the vintage, the 2009 La Mission-Haut-Brion stood out as one of the most exceptional young wines I had ever tasted from barrel, and its greatness has been confirmed in the bottle. A remarkable effort from the Dillon family, this is another large-scaled La Mission that tips the scales at 15% alcohol. A blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (47% of each) and the rest Cabernet Franc, it exhibits an opaque purple color as well as a magnificent bouquet of truffles, scorched earth, blackberry and blueberry liqueur, subtle smoke and spring flowers. The wine's remarkable concentration offers up an unctuous/viscous texture, a skyscraper-like mouthfeel, sweet, sumptuous, nearly over-the-top flavors and massive density. Perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime La Mission-Haut-Brion, the 2009 will take its place alongside the many great wines made here since the early 1920s. The good news is that there are nearly 6,000 cases of the 2009. It should last for 50-75+ years. Given the wine's unctuosity and sweetness of the tannin, I would have no problem drinking it in about 5-6 years.

Score: 100Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, March 2012

La Mission Haut-Brion has made so many great wines over the last 100 years, it would be stupid to say the 2009 somehow exceeds this estate's great classics, such as 1929, 1945, 1949, 1953, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1982, 1989, 1990, 1998, 2000, or 2005. Certainly it will take its place in the pantheon of all the great La Mission Haut-Brions ever made. There are 6,000 cases of it, made from a blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, and 6% Cabernet Franc. The natural alcohol hit 14.7%, which far exceeds the perfect wines of 1982, 1989 and 1990. Opaque purple in color, with an extraordinary nose of blueberry liqueur intermixed with camphor, charcoal, hints of burning embers and truffles, and loads of black berry and black currant fruit, the wine has sublime concentration and purity, a finish that goes well past 60 seconds, and not a hard edge to be found in this sumptuous, almost over-the-top, full-bodied wine of enormous power and massive density and richness. An immortal effort, it should drink well for 50-100 years! (Tasted once.)

Harvest started around September 9 at La Mission Haut-Brion, and finished almost a month later, on October 6. To get an idea of just how extraordinary all the wines from the Dillon family are in 2009, just consider how phenomenal the second wines are. Drink 2010-2110.

Score: 98/100Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (188), April 2010

The 2009 La Mission Haut-Brion has a wonderful, extravagant bouquet with a slight medicinal note (not apparent on the bottle poured blind the following week) infusing the precocious red fruit, all beautifully defined with star anise and bayleaf developing. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, very well judged acidity, precocious in style with a long finish that maintains that medicinal leitmotif. Wonderful. 2022 - 2060

Score: 97Neal Martin, vinous.com, March 2019

Tasted at Farr Vintner's La Mission dinner. The 2009 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion continues to impress. Here it has a sweet and generous bouquet than is just as generous and as opulent as back in January: billowing aromas of liquorice, blackberry and iodine. The palate is full-bodied and feels very plush in the mouth, perhaps just a touch more savory than I was expecting but still utterly compelling. Watch this flex its muscles in years to come. Tasted November 2013.

Score: 97Neal Martin, Wine Journal (0514), May 2014

Tasted at the chateau. Delivering a hefty 14.7% alcohol and a pH of 3.84, the '09 La Mission has a beautiful bouquet with wonderful definition, quite feminine with pure blackberry, raspberry, orange-blossom and a touch of pencil lead. Very focused and lifted. The palate is full-bodied with fine tannins, very good structure but extraordinarily tightly coiled, ready to spring into life in 10-15 years. Hints of tobacco and espresso towards the finish that has a gentle but insistent tannic grip. Saline finish. Excellent. Tasted April 2010.

Score: 95/97Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, April 2010

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! Drink 2020-2053.

Score: 100Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, March 2019

What a gorgeous nose of ripe dark fruits such as bramble berries, blueberries and currants, with hints of orange flowers. This is so tight and focused, with laser-guided tannins. It starts very slowly and then builds and builds and builds on the palate. Currants and blackberries galore, yet a tangy, firm and creamy textured tannin structure. Racy, muscular structure. Try in 2021.

Score: 98James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2012

Shows juicy aromas of ripe Cabernet Sauvignon and currant, with hints of forest fruits and sandalwood. Full-bodied, offering chewy, mouthcoating tannins that are fruit-coated and velvety. Dense and powerful. A little subdued. Could be better than I think.

Score: 94/97James Suckling, WineSpectator.com, March 2010

Dense and glossy. Thick and rich. Interesting to taste the combination of the ripeness of the vintage and the density of the château. A humdinger!
Drink 2020-2045

Score: 18.5Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, March 2019

50% of the crop went into this. The alcohol level was 14.2% in 2005 with lots of plump Merlot boosting it but in 2009 the blend is 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc and the alcohol level is a record 14.7%.Dark crimson. Scented, pretty, rather haunting aroma. Very rich and caressing - lovely texture. Still very firm and dry. The house signature of those warm bricks even in the super-ripe, super-imposing vintage of 2009! Lovely glow, and quite a bit alcohol on the end, but definitely no sweetness. SO different from the norm on the right bank... Almost inky finish. Seems very Cabernet to me. Fades just a little fast. Date tasted 2nd April 2010. Drink 2020-2040.

Score: 18Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2010

Frequently the equal of sister-Chateau Haut Brion, especially in top vintages. Indeed in years such as 1975, 1982 and 2000 it is arguably even better. The historic La Tour Haut Brion vineyard has been incorporated into La Mission now but none of the fruit produced from it is used in the grand vin but is relegated to the 2nd label - La Chapelle de la Mission. La Mission's production levels are now smaller than ever (6000 cases will be produced in 2009) and quality is often at a First Growth level. The 2009 is made from 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet France. Despite being picked in September there is a whopping 14.7 degrees of alcohol with big "legs" coating the sides of the glass and lots of glycerol. Superb richness of smoke-enfused tarry, ripe fruit. Fat with a hint of prunes and licorice, roasted but balanced by good acidity. A powerful wine with a long finish. A monster La Mission. Profound and exotic. One of the biggest wines of the vintage.

Score: 19Farr Vintners, April 2010

The nose is packed with ripe fruit, lovely and lush. Black and red fruits vie for dominance on the palate, their fleshy sweetness giving suppleness their freshness lifting the flavours and helping complexity. The balance is wonderful black fruit sweetness is balanced by red fruit freshness, the power of sloes by the lighter bilberry, so much power yet elegance. Drink 2020-2045.

Score: 92/96Derek Smedley MW, April 2010

The Cabernet Sauvignon achieved the same potential alcohol as the Merlot in 2009 - hence the unheard of 14.7% alcohol level here. Despite the power, this still has levels of acidity that are more reminiscent of Piedmont than Bordeaux. The oak isn't integrated yet, adding a touch of bitterness to the wine, but the freshness and fruit richness point to an exciting future. 20+ years.

Score: 96Tim Atkin MW, April 2010

Black red, marvellously intense expression of black fruits on the nose, slightly smoky with pure vineyard density and breed, magnificent structure, even slightly lush middle, great definition and length. Drink 2018-40.

Score: 19Steven Spurrier, Decanter.com, April 2010

Dark, cool and sleek, this is a very sophisticated wine with great structure and polished tannins that's just beginning to give its best. The cassis and blackberry fruit is brightest on the long finish and that suggests this has great aging potential. Drink or hold. (Horizontal Tasting, London, 2019)

Score: 97Stuart Pigott, JamesSuckling.com, March 2019

Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.