These two great estates from the Clarence Dillon stable, which are split by a single road, have created two outstanding and yet very distinct wines in 2015. Under the brilliant management of wine director Jean-Philippe Delmas there has been no holding back on investment both in the vineyards and wineries, all with the single goal of creating the very greatest quality.
Ch Haut Brion have created a sensational wine, possibly the wine of the vintage. It is the most intellectual wine you taste in Bordeaux. This multi-layered wine is extraordinarily powerful and structured with an almost bewildering array of flavours from glorious dark fruit and spice through to medicinal, almost iodine characters. Hats off to Jean-Philippe Delmas – he has created a wine with total completeness, this really is a work of art.
It comes as no surprise that La Mission has actually been awarded more 100 Parker points than any other château. The 2015 is 1st Growth quality, and is right up there as one of the great successes of 2015 – highly recommended.
Ch Haut Brion 1er Grand Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan 2015
£2,130 per 6 bottles IB
A desert island wine. This is my wine of the vintage, I just love it and can find no fault. Deep opaque colour, initially it is all about being reserved, subtle and refined, but then it just opens out and evolves into one of the most complex wines made in recent vintages. Dense black dark fruits, with hints of liquorice and spice, it has a direct intensity in total balance with its silky volume. The layers of flavours just keep evolving; there are so many sensations within this palate. A totally complete wine, heading towards perfection. Drink 2024-2045. Goedhuis, Score: 98-100
It has a heavenly bouquet that like the La Mission bestows instant gratification – a veritable kaleidoscope of aromas so crystalline that you can pick them out one by one: dark plum, blackcurrant, Kalamata olive and graphite. It is tempting to just nose this all day. The palate has an indescribably stunning balance and like the La Mission, there is a paradoxical sense of intensity married to weightlessness. Everything here is so precise, so pure and yet as it crescendos towards the finish, it offers a profundity that is unmatched across Bordeaux in this vintage. Having had the pleasure of many great wines from this estate in the past – 1945, 1955, 1959, 1961 and 1989 – the 2015 belongs among that pantheon. Neal Martin, Score: 98-100
Haut-Brion takes on the role of a fruit-driven (if one can call it that) temptress by comparison to the brutally tannic La Mission. Of course there is more power here and this is just an illusion, but this wine has so much allure and refinement of red fruit draped over a monumental core it is heart-stopping. The wines from Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion in 2015 are so different from the norm it is incredible. The quality of the tannins is mystifying. This is thrilling wine which is so intense and yet so splendid and powerful it takes my knowledge of this estate to another level by giving us a shape, size, aroma and flavour which is found nowhere else on earth. Matthew Jukes, Score: 20++
Ch La Mission Haut Brion Grand Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan 2015
£1,600 per 6 bottles IB
Floral perfumed wild hedgerow fruits on the nose. This is a hugely textured wine, with lovely volume giving generosity and harmony. Tremendously balanced style with masses of coffee and spice, the finely stitched tannic tapestry wraps around the tender fruit core. Noticeable richness on the finish. This is so true to the appellation. There is a sweet flicker of black treacle at the end of this hugely poised, magnificent wine. Drink 2023-2040. Goedhuis, Score: 96-98
Matured in 78% new oak, it has an incredibly pure bouquet with intense blueberry, blackberry, iodine and cold stone aromas that soar from the glass. There is nothing holding back here – a La Mission with real exuberance. The palate is medium-bodied with incredible intensity in the mouth, but without any leaden weight. It is a startling La Mission Haut-Brion to behold at this early stage. It is one of those wines where as a professional critic, I had to adopt a poker face to hide the untrammeled joy this nascent wine imparts. Complete and profound, the 2015 will rank as one of the great modern-day classics from this grand estate, another to add to that long list of magical La Missions. Neal Martin, Score: 97-99
What this wine brings to the party is volume and power. I was completely taken by La Chapelle (the second wine), but the Grand Vin improves on this in every facet of a great wine. This is so commanding and noble that it beggars belief. The earth is the foundation to this wine and it is spellbinding and all-encompassing. A work of art and one which will live for an eternity. I can’t imagine being able to drink this wine in my lifetime it is so fantastically youthful and closed. Matthew Jukes, Score: 19++