In some years, La Mission behaves like a ‘wild child' while in others it is an astute student ofdiplomacy and grace. In 2010, La Mission Haut Brion would make Ian Fleming proud. Confident, suave and incredibly refined, it unfolds onto the palate with beautiful layers of sweet morello cherries, milk chocolate and aromatic spices. Sleek but powerful. One of the best La Mission Haut Brions we have tasted that carries its weight incredibly well. RK
A strong candidate for a perfect score in about 15 years, the 2010 La Mission Haut-Brion could well turn out to be a modern-day version of their 1955. Sadly (or maybe fortunately) for me, I’m not old enough to have tasted the 1955 in 1958 from bottle, but this wine could also be an update on the more modern 2000 which, of course, I know well and actually own. This full-bodied, colossal giant of a wine is one of the goliaths of the vintage. It may well have the highest level of natural alcohol for any wine from the Left Bank of Bordeaux (15.1%) and has the definite potential to be a 50- to 75-year wine. Dense purple, it offers up notes of lead pencil shavings, charcoal embers, blueberry and blackberry liqueur along with massive concentration, a multi-dimensional mouthfeel and a monumental finish that goes well past a minute, which I think might be a record for a young Bordeaux. Keep in mind that the 2009, which I gave three digits, came in at 14.7%, but the pH of the 2010 is lower, giving the wine a freshness and precision that is remarkable. The final blend was 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, and – unlike the Chapelle de la Mission, which has 26% Cabernet Franc – there’s only 1% Cabernet Franc in the 2010 La Mission Haut-Brion. This is a wine for those of you with youth on your side as well as patience. It will need a good decade of cellaring. An amazing wine. Anticipated maturity: 2024-2075+.
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. Drink: 2011 - 2061
The La Mission Haut-Brion, a blend of 37% Merlot, 62% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc, 3.57pH and knocking in at....15.1% alcohol. It has a wonderful nose with crushed stone, black plum and graphite, with an almost Pauillac-like personality. The palate is medium-bodied and quite structured on the entry, the Cabernet in the driving seat lending cedar and graphite. Linear, strict, brilliant focused with good tension on the finish, you have to give to Jean-Philippe Delmas that the alcohol is cunningly disguised, but on the other hand, how about drinking more the a glass? That remains to be seen, hence my caution.
37% Merlot, 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc. 47% grand vin (compared to 50% in 2009). Very deep crimson – glowing. Scented and really quite muted and even austere on the nose. And then very fleshy and even rather gorgeous on the palate. Wonderfully refined tannins and quite broad fruit but there is a nub of something a little green in the fruit itself? 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. 15.1%. Drink 2025-2040
This is loaded, with a torrent of pastis, crushed plum, blueberry and boysenberry fruit, backed by tarry tannins and a long, spice- and graphite-filled finish. Big, but very, very sleek. Highest percentage of Cabernet ever for La Mission (62 percent). Tasted non-blind. -J.M.
This is very perfumed for La Mission with dark berry, light chocolate, flowers, and minerals. Full and silky with fine tannins and a bright and tangy finish. Intense and powerful. Refined. Long.
Dense black floral fruit, great depth and ripeness, great structure and elegance, a superb La Mission. Drink 2018-40.
Owned by the Dillon family since 1983, La Mission Haut Brion is without doubt one of the mostexceptional wines of Bordeaux. Across the road from Haut Brion, it regularly competes with its moreillustrious older sibling and has even outperformed Haut Brion in certain vintages, such as 2006 when Wine Spectator suggests that it "could be the wine of the vintage".
Stretching from the rather unglamorous southern suburbs of Bordeaux, for 50 km along the left bank of the river Garonne, lies Graves. Named for its gravelly soil, a relic of Ice Age glaciers, this is the birthplace of claret, despatched from the Middle Ages onwards from the nearby quayside to England in vast quantities. It can feel as though Bordeaux is just about red wines, but some sensational white wines are produced in this area from a blend of sauvignon blanc, Semillon and, occasionally, muscadelle grapes, often fermented and aged in barrel. In particular, Domaine de Chevalier is renowned for its superbly complex whites, which continue to develop in bottle over decades. A premium appellation, Pessac-Leognan, was created in 1987 for the most prestigious terroirs within Graves. These are soils with exceptional drainage, made up of gravel terraces built up in layers over many millennia, and consequently thrive in mediocre vintages but are less likely to perform well in hotter years. These wines were appraised and graded in their own classification system in 1953 and updated in 1959, but, like the 1855 classification system, this should be regarded with caution and the wines must absolutely be assessed on their own current merits.