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La Mission Haut Brion 2020

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

Frequently the qualitative equal of sister-château 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 5,000 cases produced annually. The vineyard is planted with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot.

Also available in the following mixed case:

View all vintages of this wine | View all wines by La Mission Haut Brion


Tasting Notes

The 2020 La Mission Haut-Brion is a brilliant effort that exhibits a level of balance and integration that are impressive in such a powerful young Bordeaux. Unwinding in the glass with aromas of dark berries and plums mingled with burning embers, pencil shavings, violets and smoked black tea, it's full-bodied, deep and concentrated, with a layered, elegantly muscular profile, its brooding core of fruit framed by a generous endowment of powdery tannin that tempers the ripeness of the vintage. Checking in at 14.7% alcohol, it's nonetheless more classically styled than the more flamboyant 2019 vintage or even the slowly maturing 2010 which I re-tasted alongside for context. Drink 2035-2065.

William Kelley, RobertParker.com, April 2023

Perfectly ripe black and blue berries on the nose with blackcurrants, too. Crushed fruit. Complex and perfect. Full and intense. You feel the intensity of the tannins, yet it is not overpowering. They are in a sophisticated and elegant state. Muscular and formed finish. Gorgeous in every sense of the word. Strength with finesse. Drink after 2030.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, May 2023

Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2020 La Mission Haut-Brion is a blend of 48.6% Merlot, 43.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 8.2% Cabernet Franc, with a pH of 3.85. After a swirl or two, the nose blossoms with an alluring array of black cherries, kirsch, and blackcurrant jelly scents, followed by hints of rose oil, sandalwood, tree bark, and Indian spices. The medium to full-bodied palate is densely laden with muscular black fruits, supported by firm, rounded tannins and plenty of freshness, finishing long and fragrant.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent, March 2023

Lastly, the Grand Vin 2020 Château La Mission Haut-Brion is cut from the same cloth as the La Chapelle, only it brings more of everything. Black raspberries, cassis, ripe cherries, sandalwood, smoked tobacco, and acacia flowers are just some of its nuances, and this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a layered, seamless, sexy mouthfeel, remarkable tannins, and a great, great finish. The level of purity, finesse, and elegance, paired with incredible concentration, is something to behold. Give bottles just 5-7 years in the cellar and enjoy over the following half a century. The blend is 48.6% Merlot, 43.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Cabernet Franc, hitting a natural alcohol of 14.7%.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, March 2023

The 2020 La Mission Haut-Brion has a detailed bouquet with a mixture of red and black fruit, black olive, terracotta and a light wet clayey scent (I sometimes think of a potter's wheel.) It gains complexity in the glass and becomes increasingly refined. The palate is beautifully balanced and caters for the 14.7% alcohol with ease. Very fine tannins, perfectly matched with the acidity, beguiling in terms of its cohesive and velvety smooth finish that lingers long in the mouth. The greatest La Missions are the effortless ones and the 2020 is just that. Beautiful. Drink 2028-2060.

Neal Martin, vinous.com, February 2023

Grips from the first moment, lashings of damson, cassis, brownie, chocolate shavings, espresso, pencil lead, plum pudding, incense, the is muscular but juicy, totally mouthwatering, real tension and depth, powerful but restrained. Gets better and better the more you go back to it, building in floral notes, lives up to its En Primeur promise. Harvest from 7th to 29th September.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, February 2023

Full embossed bottle 1,280 g. Cask sample taken 13 April … nice and fresh! 48.6% Merlot, 43.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.2% Cabernet Franc picked 7 to 29 September. Estimated alcohol 14.7%.
Dark, blackish crimson. Obviously extremely dense and concentrated – so much so that initially the nose is buried in all that concentration. Then – whoosh – what a spread of firm fruit and layers of cassis and minerals! There is no shortage of ripe tannin buried under here so this will be a very slow burner but it's a worthy addition to the La Mission canon. Needs years and years and it's far from opulent, but then that's not what La Mission is about. Subtly builds towards a very long peacock's tail finish. Though it's impossible to imagine drinking this tightly structured wine without food.
Drink 2032 – 2055

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2021

The 2020 is a blend of 48.6% Merlot, 43.2% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8.2% Cabernet Franc. Deep ruby in the glass. Expolsively aromatic, full of cedar, tobacco, cassis and dark cherry. Brambly dark fruit competes with a cool graphite note on the palate, offering sweet and savoury in equal measure. There are exotic notes of liquorice and clove too, but everything is measured and harmonious. Firm but ripe tannins offer ample structure for long term ageing, complementing rather than dominating the fruit. Expansive on the finish that has a flourish of spice and dried flowers.

Farr Vintners, Farr Tasting, May 2021

(49% M, 42% CS, 8% CF; 14.7% ABV)
Ripe blackberry and cassis-sweet and finely oak-tinged to smell; the merest hint of raisin?; rich and concentrated, defined by a fresh to vital acidity and firmly but finely dry in tannin; refined core fruit, long and close-grained and gently mouthcoating, the “gravel” element is hardly apparent any more, and the firm 2020 tannins are a bit hardened and dried by the nearly 15% alcohol; its overall balance and “frame” apart, this remains refined and subtle, long in the mouth, with excellent fragrant fruit length. I would no longer recognize it as LMHB blind. Which is not to say that it is not good wine, just that it now tastes rather more of its climate than its soil. Will that change with bottle age? Who knows. It is said that always “terroir will out”—let’s hope so! The alcohol just gives a slighly hard dryness to the overall texture, and the ripeness masks the “cooler” (soil-based?) aspect of terroir. All that said, this remains a classy wine … but vitiated in some sense? Subtle, complex, racy, complete. But no longer Pessac-gravelly! 2032–52+.

Michael Schuster, The World of Fine Wine, May 2021
Read more tasting notes...

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.

William Kelley, RobertParker.com, April 2022

The 2020 La Mission Haut-Brion was picked September 7–29. It has a very intense and beautifully defined bouquet of blackberry, wild strawberry, wilted violet petals and hints of orange blossom. It unfolded with aeration as I examined it side-by-side against its neighbor over the course of an hour. The exquisitely balanced palate is lightly spiced on the entry and segues into a very structured midpalate that frames the weight of pixelated black fruit. That spicy theme continues and is exaggerated toward a finish that fans out wonderfully. This is a less alcoholic La Mission Haut-Brion compared to recent vintages, a bit "cooler" and streamlined, yet no less intense and satisfying. An enthralling wine in the making from Jean-Philippe Delmas and his team. Drink: 2028-2060

Neal Martin, vinous.com, May 2021

This really builds on the palate. Loads of blackberry and iodine with asphalt undertones. It’s full-bodied with tannins that steamroll at the end and keep going. Classic blend.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2021

Composed of 48.6% Merlot, 43.2% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8.2% Cabernet Franc, harvested from 7th to 29th September, the 2020 La Mission Haut-Brion has an alcohol of 14.7%. It needs considerable swirling and coaxing to reveal slowly emerging scents of freshly crushed blackcurrants, Morello cherries, wild blueberries and forest floor, leading to suggestions of violets, baker's chocolate and cardamom with wafts of dusty soil and oolong tea. The medium to full-bodied palate bursts with impactful, fresh red, black and blue fruit layers, supported by impressive freshness and fantastically ripe, fine-grained tannins, finishing very long and fragrant. A stunning expression of this vintage!

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, May 2021

Grips from the first moment, lashings of damson, cassis, brownie, chocolate shavings, espresso, pencil lead, plum pudding, incense, the is muscular but juicy, totally mouthwatering, real tension and depth, powerful but restrained. Gets better and better the more you go back to it, building in floral notes, lives up to its En Primeur promise. Harvest from 7th to 29th September.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, February 2023

A kick of black fruit and confident spice right from the first nose, this is an intense and concentrated La Mission, tightly in control, not letting up from beginning to end. The pencil lead and bitter dark chocolate is layered in between the cassis notes in a way that makes you see the Cabernet influence although this is majority Merlot (once again - this is a character of the year, low yields of Cabernet mean Merlot is more featured in the blend than usual; but the intensity of the Cabernets mean that it still has an outsized influence on flavour profile). Grilled coffee beans overtake on the close of play, this is seductive and switches beautifully between the tannins pressing in on the palate and the juice expanding things outwards. This is the wine to go for in the Domaines Clarence Dillon stable this year. Harvest from 7th to 29th September.

Drinking Window 2030 - 2050

Jane Anson, Decanter.com, May 2021
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.