|Subregion||France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pessac-Léognan|
Frequently the qualitative equal of sister-Chateau Haut Brion and in some years even better. The historic La Tour Haut Brion vineyard has been incorporated into La Mission now but most of the fruit is relegated to the 2nd label - La Chapelle de la Mission. La Mission's production levels are now smaller than ever and, more than ever, it can be seen as an 'honorary' First Growth. There are normally around 5000 cases produced annually. The vineyard is planted with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot.
Regal wine, showing alluringly ripe and dark plums, that carries a wealth of complexity in its DNA - fine spices, leaves, graphite, violets and more. The palate has very precise drive and super focused style and delivers authoritative tannins that are arranged in linear fashion. Power with elegance. Try from 2024.
A blend of 57.5% Merlot and 42.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2016 La Mission Haut-Brion is deep garnet-purple in color. It is uncharacteristically shy to begin, needing considerable coaxing to unlock notes of blackcurrant cordial, black cherries, and wild blueberries, plus opulent wafts of rose oil, Chinese five spice, dried lavender, and licorice. The full-bodied palate explodes with a whole array of cassis and blackberry preserves layers, followed by sparks of exotic spices and dried flowers, supported by very fine, exquisitely ripe tannins, leading to a firework display of spices and minerals on the finish of this atomic wine.
Wonderful La Mission this year, graceful but with an unmistakable sense of controlled power. The wine just expands outwards and upwards in your mouth - insistent but terribly polite about it. It is deep and silky, shot through with coffee grounds, damson and soft cassis on a creamy mid-palate, utterly beautiful. There is a real energy and vitality here, with a caressing texture to the tannins and huge persistency on the finish. Dense, and yet so finessed that you could almost drink it today. Wow. The blend is 57.5% Merlot and 42.5% Cabernet Sauvignon with a pH of 3.66, harvested between 19th September and 14th October.
Tasted blind. Slightly sweaty nose and then lovely zest and interest. Thick with masses of exotic fruit over massive tannins. Most unusual. Very long. Sweet and spicy! Masses of interest.
Drink 2030 – 2055
The 2016 La Mission Haut-Brion checks in as a Merlot-heavy blend, 57.5% Merlot and 42.5% Cabernet Sauvignon. About as pure and seamless (yet sexy) as they come in the vintage, it offers awesome notes of dried flowers, sweet currants, cedarwood, forest floor, and exotic spices. With a flawless texture, medium to full body, and ultra-fine tannins, this beauty builds incrementally on the palate with terrific mid-palate depth and a stunning finish. It’s sexier and more charming compared to the more backward Haut Brion, yet I suspect it will age just as long. Drink 2023-2063.
Concentrated black fruits the nose has depth the palate a rich mix of cassis and black cherry mid richness the sweet fruit backed by fine tannins. Rich and ripe at the back supple and fleshy but there is balance an underlying freshness the finish has elegance and length. 2025-43
Tight, focused and even a little backward, as it’s entitled to be at this young age, this is a very intellectual claret, rather than an exuberant fruit bomb. Fine oak, granular tannins, taut acidity and savoury red and dark berry fruit flavours. 2026-36
The 2016 La Mission Haut Brion is a blend of 57.5% Merlot and 42.5% Cabernet Sauvignon picked between 19 September and 14 October, one of the longest ever. "We had to be patient and wait for each plot," Jean-Philippe Delmas told me. "It took longer than usual." As is customary, I allowed my sample, and likewise all the wines poured at this tasting, around 40-45 minutes to open since they always transform in the glass. It has a clean and precise, quite understated bouquet with fine mineralité, cold stone aromas infusing the black fruit. This has incredible precision, perhaps even more pixelated than the "gaff over the road" Haut-Brion. The palate is medium-bodied with supple and lithe tannin. I appreciate the line of acidity here, the smoothness and harmony that takes your breath away. Every atom is infused with life-affirming freshness. It is a wine bridled with incredible focus and delineation. I thought that the 2015 La Mission Haut-Brion flirted with perfection. The 2016 has that extra edge, a "je ne sais quoi" that leaves you reaching for the thesaurus looking for superlatives. Drink 2026-2070.
The texture to this is very beautiful with chewy yet very polished tannins. Full-bodied, tight and mouth-filling. Starts very slowly and then takes off. Love the energy in this.
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. Drink 2022 - 2054.
Glowing deep crimson. Very intense and ripe. Snazzy and spicy. Polished and racy. Very firm and lots of ripe tannins – very much à La Mission. Super-sophisticated. Inky and fresh and so ripe and confident. A dry style but great. Racy but tannic.