A thoroughbred tugging at the reins. Deep colour. Lifted and racy on the nose with a hint of cassis. Ripe and mouth-filling, then a charge of fine
Drink 2030 - 2050
Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com (June 2020)
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 more tremendous potential.
Drink 2033 - 2070
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2022)
A tight and structured La Mission that takes you deep into the glass with super intensity and power. The tannins are omnipresent and envelop the palate. It’s full-bodied yet agile and complete. Iodine, sweet tobacco and blackberry character. It seems never to finish. Another WOW wine that reminds me of some of the great classics of this estate, such as the 1955.
James Suckling (May 2020)
Wonderful sweet fruit and floral aromatics. Great freshness and life here; tannins are present, chalky and consuming, but in a great way. The mouthfeel is excellent and really stands out - the deep cherry, plum and blackcurrant fruit pulsing underneath the tannins with cooling menthol and mouthwatering freshness on top, so you get power and lift! One of the more open wines at this point, with so much charm. Approachable and showing off, but still a lot more to give in time. A brilliant wine. 53% Merlot, 39.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7.5% Cabernet Franc.
Drink 2027 - 2047
Georgina Hindle, decanter.com (January 2022)
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 Blend
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.