Lovely sweet currant fruit aromas, a deliciously rounded broad palate with lots of black fruits, subtly balancing acidity and a good grainy tannic structure. Slightly more restrained than the Haut Brion, still classy and very polished.
The Château La Mission Haut-Brion 2014 is a blend of 54% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, picked between 15 September and 8 October raised in 55% new oak. It has a very fresh and precise bouquet, not one that marches out the barrack in confidence fashion, but rather unfolds piece-by-piece in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with a structured and neatly placed opening: a little masculine for La Mission Haut-Brion at this stage, linear and focused, maintaining precision rather than aiming from power and roundness. This is a sophisticated La Mission Haut-Brion in the making, one that may actually surpass Haut-Brion as it is sometimes prone to do. The 2014 is a sterling success for Jean-Philippe Delmas and his team.
52% of production. 54% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep crimson. At last something sumptuous from the Haut-Brion stable! (I have been tasting through the second wines and the Quintus.) Deep and really quite rich at first though then the acidity starts to come through on the end. This may be quite a severe La Mission. Dry finish and only medium bodied. It will need quite a time to develop enough weight and nuance to counteract the acid and tannin. 14.45% Drink 2027-2040
This has the engaging rusticity of the estate, with a strong sappy and briary frame around a core of plum skin, dried star anise, licorice root and dark currant fruit. Solidly grippy through the finish, with a lingering tar edge and a bright pastis note. Rather backward, but rock-solid.
Chewy and rich with blueberry, stone and mineral character. Full body, silky and intense tannins and a mineral berry aftertaste. A finely grained La Mission.
The 2014 La Mission Haut-Brion is magnificent. A dark, mysterious wine, the 2014 offers superb depth and intensity from the very first taste. The flavors are dark, bold and quite authoritative, but there is an element of sensuality laced throughout as well. Graphite, savory herbs, cherry jam, graphite and smoke add nuance to a huge, powerful finish supported by beams of salinity and energy. What a gorgeous wine this is. The blend is 54% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc.
Medium-bodied, fresh attack, dominated by late summer fruits, suggesting perfectly but not overly ripe, still great integrity to the fruit, a floating gossamer quality to the structure, the tannins are deceptively fine, they in fact hold the structure very tightly, feel it on the finish with its impression of blackberry and raspberry fruits being kept firmly in hold. A lovely wine, medium to long term but with great potential for pleasure. From a blend of 54% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.25%abv. Drink: 2025-2042
(54 Merlot, 45 Cabernet Sauvignon, 1 Cabernet Franc) | 14.45% alc. | 70% new oak. The statistics rarely convey flavour in a wine and in this instance, 70% new oak combined with 14.45% alc. and the apparent slimness of this vintage made for uncomfortable reading. Not surprisingly, with a wine of this elite standing, the stats always fail to get it right. The fruit is powerful and layered with mineral strength and volume. The length is remarkable and the flavour doesn’t budge an inch as it careers across the palate. This is a wonderful wine full of drama and tension and it will make 30 years with ease. It’s hard to choose between this and Haut-Brion, not least because this is, by comparison, the more forward of the two wines and it looks so impressive. This is why I have rewarded them with identical scores.
One of the best young La Missions I have ever tasted, this is closer to the 2001 in terms of its blend than to the more Cabernet-dominated 2010. Silky, yet structured, with a shimmering mineral freshness, this is a thing of beauty. The tannins and oak integration are very fine, even at this early stage. Drink: 2025-35
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.