Today sees the release of the Clarence Dillon stable including the brilliant Ch La Mission Haut-Brion from Domaine Clarence Dillon at £1,975 per 6 In Bond.
Divided from its first growth sibling by a single road in the southern suburbs of Bordeaux city comparisons are inevitably drawn between the wines of these two great estates. While Haut Brion has the stamp of approval conferred by its elite status, in certain vintages La Mission surpasses the heights that even Haut Brion achieves. In fact La Mission has actually been awarded more 100 Parker points than any other château.
2016 is a year which divided the critics, certain giving Haut-Brion the edge, but others, including importantly Neal Martin, coming down firmly in favour of La Mission. It was one of only 8 wines which Martin awarded a potentially perfect 98-100 and he comments:
“I thought that the 2015 La Mission Haut-Brion flirted with perfection. The 2016 has that extra edge, a “je ne sais quoi” that leaves you reaching for the thesaurus looking for superlatives.”
Looking back through our notes when tasting La Mission words such as “mesmerising”, “exemplary” and “glorious” crop up. This is a superlative effort with an exceptional future ahead of it.
Ch La Mission Haut Brion Grand Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan 2016
£1,975.00 per 6 bottles IB
£1,980.00 per 3 magnums IB
This glorious wine typifies everything that makes La Mission Haut-Brion so appealing and why it is a habitual winner in blind tastings amongst the first growths. Beautifully polished loganberry and wild berry aromas, with hints of dark currants. This balances a lovely silky texture, with volume and richness, whilst maintaining a continuous flow of tannic structure throughout the palate. Vibrantly fresh, the finish of mocha and chocolate give added complexity and enormous appeal. This glass was hard to put down, I loved it! Drink 2025-2043. 97-98 points, Goedhuis & Co
The 2016 La Mission Haut Brion is a blend of 57.5% Merlot and 42.5% Cabernet Sauvignon picked between 19 September and 14 October, one of the longest ever. “We had to be patient and wait for each plot,” Jean-Philippe Delmas told me. “It took longer than usual.” As is customary, I allowed my sample, and likewise all the wines poured at this tasting, around 40-45 minutes to open since they always transform in the glass. It has a clean and precise, quite understated bouquet with fine mineralité, cold stone aromas infusing the black fruit. This has incredible precision, perhaps even more pixelated than the “gaff over the road” Haut-Brion. The palate is medium-bodied with supple and lithe tannin. I appreciate the line of acidity here, the smoothness and harmony that takes your breath away. Every atom is infused with life-affirming freshness. It is a wine bridled with incredible focus and delineation. I thought that the 2015 La Mission Haut-Brion flirted with perfection. The 2016 has that extra edge, a “je ne sais quoi” that leaves you reaching for the thesaurus looking for superlatives. Drink Date 2026 – 2070. 98-100 points, Neal Martin
The 2016 La Mission Haut-Brion is a total knockout. Vertical and powerful, but not at all austere, it exudes class. Fine-grained tannins support the fruit, but they are barely felt, as the wine’s balance is so extraordinary. Lifted floral notes and a host of red fruits give the 2016 energy and verve. I can’t wait to see how it ages. 94-97 points, Antonio Galloni
Wonderful La Mission this year, graceful but with an unmistakable sense of controlled power. The wine just expands outwards and upwards in your mouth – insistent but terribly polite about it. It is deep and silky, shot through with coffee grounds, damson and soft cassis on a creamy mid-palate, utterly beautiful. There is a real energy and vitality here, with a caressing texture to the tannins and huge persistency on the finish. Dense, and yet so finessed that you could almost drink it today. Wow. 98 points, Jane Anson, Decanter
A lovely, wild nose of macerated berries and old library books greets the taster. This is a historic flavour and it shows amazing complexity and thrilling tannins. The fineness and richness of the skin elements are incredible. Long and smooth, this is a superb La Mission, built along a red fruit theme and even though it is very dry and savoury it is certain to blossom in a decade into a lithe, sensual creature. 18.5+ points, Matthew Jukes.