Robert M. Parker, Jr. - 28/02/2013
Demanding on the taster – not least because this will need long ageing. Nothing hot about this. Great freshness and sweetness. The acidity nicely counterbalances the alcohol. 37% Merlot, 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc. 47% grand vin -compared to 50% in 2009.
(Jancis Robinson MW- jancis robinson.com 11 Apr 2011)
(James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator - Tasting at Haut Brion - 29 Mar 2011)
(98+ Robert Parker- Wine Advocate- Feb 2013)
One of the most powerful La Missions ever produced, the 2010, a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc, achieved 15% natural alcohol (even higher than the 2009's 14.7%). Nevertheless, the pH is normal which gives the wine an extraordinary precision, freshness and vibrancy despite its massive size. A blue/purple color is followed by a classic nose of blueberry liqueur, creme de cassis, spring flowers and crushed rocks. This monumental, full-bodied, incredibly rich La Mission-Haut-Brion will need a decade of cellaring and should last for 40-50 years. It is slightly fatter and creamier than its sibling rival, the 2010 Chateau Haut-Brion.
(98-100 Robert Parker- Wine Advocate- May 2011)
About this WINE
Chateau la Mission Haut-Brion
Château La Mission-Haut-Brion is the greatest Graves wine after Haut-Brion and in some vintages is considered the superior wine of the two. La Mission-Haut-Brion is situated just across the road from Haut-Brion in the commune of Talence in the southern suburbs of Bordeaux. Since 1983, both properties have been under the same ownership, Domaine Clarence Dillon S.A.
La Mission-Haut-Brion's vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon 48%, Merlot 45%, Cabernet Franc 7%) lie on a large (up to 18 metres deep in places) gravel bank interspersed with clay. The wine is fermented in temperature-controlled, stainless steel vats and then matured in oak barriques (100% new) for 18 months. The wines of La Mission Haut Brion are rich, oaky and powerful and need at least 10 years of bottle ageing before they should be broached.
In 1986 a new communal district was created within Graves, in Bordeaux, based on the districts of Pessac and Léognan, the first of which lies within the suburbs of the city. Essentially this came about through pressure from Pessac-Léognan vignerons, who wished to disassociate themselves from growers with predominately sandy soils further south in Graves.
Pessac-Léognan has the best soils of the region, very similar to those of the Médoc, although the depth of gravel is more variable, and contains all the classed growths of the region. Some of its great names, including Ch. Haut-Brion, even sit serenely and resolutely in Bordeaux's southern urban sprawl.
The climate is milder than to the north of the city and the harvest can occur up to two weeks earlier. This gives the best wines a heady, rich and almost savoury character, laced with notes of tobacco, spice and leather. Further south, the soil is sandier with more clay, and the wines are lighter, fruity and suitable for earlier drinking.
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.