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La Mission Haut Brion 2005

Subregion France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pessac-Léognan
Grape VarietyCabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc

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Tasting Notes

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. Only 5,500 cases were produced of this blend of 69% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc. Drink 2015-2045.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (219), June 2015

The 2005 La Mission Haut-Brion is a blend of 69% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Cabernet Franc. Deep garnet-brick in color, it slowly grows on the nose to offer earthy suggestions of damp soil, wild mushrooms, and crushed rocks, over a flamboyant core of warm cassis and fruitcake, plus a hint of Sichuan pepper. Medium to full-bodied, with an electric backbone of energy and firm, ripe tannins supporting the generous fruit, it finishes with incredibly persistent earth and mineral layers. This evocative beauty is just entering its drinking window, yet has the stamina and stuffing to give a further 40 years+ of pleasure. Purchased by Domaine Clarence Dillon in 1983, the vineyard is smaller than Haut-Brion, at 75 acres. It is very close to Haut-Brion - about a 5-minute drive - with some of the vines located near the Chateau, but there are sections of vineyard located further away in Talence, to the east of Pessac, and thus with a very different terroir / style, with sand, gravel, chalk, and clay soils. The planting density is very high at 10,000 vines per hectare. La Mission Haut-Brion tends to be more gregarious, opulent, and rich than Haut-Brion, as demonstrated by this 2005.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent, July 2022

The Château La Mission Haut-Brion 2005 has a really quite fabulous bouquet with powerful, very well defined blackberry, cedar, tobacco, fig and menthol scents that jostle for attention. The palate is medium-bodied with fine and supple tannin. This is becoming quite a savoury La Mission with savoury elements infusing the red and black fruit, touches of sage and juniper flourishing on the finish that is so refined you could actually drink hits now. This is a quite brilliant La Mission Haut-Brion that will cruise at a rarefied height. Drink 2020 - 2060

Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, February 2015

This is very rich and layered for La Mission with ultra-polished tannins yet velvety and beautiful in texture. It's fully-bodied and full of character that shows plums, berries, wet earth and oyster shell flavors that are so unique to reds from this estate. Superb quality. Better to drink this in 2020 but try now to feel the greatness.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, October 2015

A little more approachable than the Haut-Brion at this moment in time, but still at the very beginning of its drinking life, with decades ahead of it. Expect your senses to be drenched in pulses of electricity running through the palate, studding the waves of loganberry, blackberry and red cherry fruits. Feels carefully delineated and in balance, luscious and sculpted, with peony floral notes as it opens up. A classic Mission Haut-Brion, exceptionally impressive. 100% new oak.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, September 2022

Deep classic shaded crimson. High-toned mineral nose that should really satisfy traditionalists. A savoury yeast-extract/Marmite edge. Very directed and focused and Cabernet on the palate - almost essence of Cabernet. Marked acidity and tannin. Utterly classic - not an ounce of spare flesh. Everything there for a fine, long future. 14.5%
Drink 2020-2045

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, February 2015

Deep ruby-red. Black raspberry and licorice on the nose. Dense and sweet but youthfully tight; a serious young wine with terrific verve and the acid/tannin backbone to support a long and glorious evolution in bottle. Very long on the back end, with mouth-saturating fruit and tannins. Like La Chapelle-and in direct contrast to Bahans and Haut-Brion-this is quite backward today, and almost certain to merit a higher rating in the future.

Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, June 2008

A classic La Mission, broad-shouldered and powerful with a greater percentage of Merlot than usual. Intense, brooding nose, huge volume of fruit and big, firm tannic frame. Monolithic but balanced. Drink 2015-2035.

James Lawther MW, Decanter.com, April 2006

Fifth out of 184 wines

-, Southwold Bordeaux Tasting, January 2009
Read more tasting notes...

Another massive effort, the inky/purple-colored 2005 La Mission-Haut-Brion is broodingly backward and foreboding. The aromatic profile offers hints of charcoal, freshly laid hot tar, truffles, graphite and black fruits. Full-bodied, powerful, tannic and almost painfully extracted and concentrated with tremendous structure, good acidity and a massive finish, this infant wine is largely unchanged since I first tasted it from bottle. If everything comes together in 10-15 years, this brilliant 2005 should merit a triple digit score. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2050+.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (202), August 2012

There are slightly more than 5,000 cases of the 2005 La Mission-Haut-Brion, a blend of 69% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and a touch of Cabernet Franc. While there is little difference between La Mission and Haut-Brion’s terroirs (their vineyards are only separated by a two-lane road), La Mission possesses more fat, texture, and intensity. An enormously endowed wine with huge tannin and structure, the 2005 offers a quintessential Graves bouquet of burning embers, charcoal, blackberries, truffles, black currants, and a meaty character. Reminiscent of the 1989, with more structure as well as a longer window of drinkability, the 2005 may be a modern day, improved version of a vintage such as 1955, which was well-endowed, very tannic, and took a long time to come around. While fabulously full-bodied and unctuous, the 2005 will not provide much charm in its youth. It needs 8-10 years of cellaring, and should age effortlessly for 30-40 years.

The rivalry between the two great Pessac-Leognan estates of Haut-Brion and La Mission-Haut-Brion continues despite the fact that since 1983, both wines have been made by the same winemaking team. Jean-Bernard Delmas has moved fifty miles north to Montrose, but his son, Jean-Philippe, has produced both wines following the 2003 vintage. La Mission is obviously made in a different style than Haut-Brion. It will never have as much nuance and nobility aromatically. It does possess more muscle, concentration, and opulence than Haut-Brion, but both offer prodigious styles of wine.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (176), April 2008

The 2005 La Mission-Haut-Brion is even more impressive this year than it was in 2006. There are approximately 5,500 cases of this blend of 69% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Cabernet Franc. Jean-Philippe Delmas told me that for the first time in this vineyard’s history, the entire vineyard was seriously crop-thinned. The result is a wine that is reminiscent of the 1989, but with more structure, muscle, and tannin. However, the tannin is sweet – a good sign in a wine with such extraordinary power and richness. Scorched earth, blueberries, blackberries, and a hint of truffles appear in the staggering aromatics. The wine is massive in the mouth, with incredible fat and richness as well as mouth-searing levels of velvety tannin in the finish. Even though the fruit is wonderfully ripe and the texture is unctuous, this stunning offering will not be drinkable for 6-7 years, and should keep for 25 years thereafter.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (170), April 2007

The deep ruby/purple-hued 2005 La Mission-Haut-Brion is the finest offering from this estate since the 2000, a vintage it resembles in power, muscle, and structure. A gorgeous perfume of creosote, blueberries, and black fruits is followed by powerful, full-bodied flavors with great purity as well as remarkable freshness. Already revealing a certain unctuosity and thickness, it should continue to put on weight and develop magnificently for 25-30+ years. La Mission’s staff believes it is more similar to the 1990 than 2000, but it is too early for me to agree or disagree. Nevertheless, this is a profound La Mission-Haut-Brion. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2030+.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (164), April 2006

The Indian spices and blackberry on the nose are so enticing and inspiring, leading to a full-bodied palate, with very polished tannins that caress. Goes on and on as this builds on the palate, with a mineral and berry aftertaste. For long-term aging. Best after 2015. 5,665 cases made.

James Suckling, Wine Spectator, March 2008

Loads of crushed berries and flowers on the nose. Very sweet dark fruits. Full-bodied, with amazing concentration of fruit. Big silky tannins. The depth of the fruit is there. Dig down and find it. The richest La Mission ever.

James Suckling, WineSpectator.com, March 2006

Very dark healthy crimson. Very sweet plus mineral. Very fine and glorious and flattering and lovely - the sort of wine you would expect Margaux to taste like. Lovely length and completeness. Still lots of fine tannins on the finish

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, February 2009

69% M 30% CS 1% CF (55% grand vin) A little more Merlot than usual. Crimson with some paleness at the rim. Extraordinary combination of almost super-ripe notes and freshness. This just walks on air! It has the guts and density underneath for the usual La Mission long life but seduces utterly with its initial aerien impression. Quite extraordinary. Still quite a weight of very fine tannins underneath. Very long and precise and very finely etched. A bit more 'pointed' than the Haut-Brion. Drink 2017-40

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2006
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.