A candidate for the wine of the vintage, the 2009 La Mission-Haut-Brion stood out as one of the most exceptional young wines I had ever tasted from barrel, and its greatness has been confirmed in the bottle. A remarkable effort from the Dillon family, this is another large-scaled La Mission that tips the scales at 15% alcohol. A blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (47% of each) and the rest Cabernet Franc, it exhibits an opaque purple color as well as a magnificent bouquet of truffles, scorched earth, blackberry and blueberry liqueur, subtle smoke and spring flowers. The wine's remarkable concentration offers up an unctuous/viscous texture, a skyscraper-like mouthfeel, sweet, sumptuous, nearly over-the-top flavors and massive density. Perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime La Mission-Haut-Brion, the 2009 will take its place alongside the many great wines made here since the early 1920s. The good news is that there are nearly 6,000 cases of the 2009. It should last for 50-75+ years. Given the wine's unctuosity and sweetness of the tannin, I would have no problem drinking it in about 5-6 years.
What a gorgeous nose of ripe dark fruits such as bramble berries, blueberries and currants, with hints of orange flowers. This is so tight and focused, with laser-guided tannins. It starts very slowly and then builds and builds and builds on the palate. Currants and blackberries galore, yet a tangy, firm and creamy textured tannin structure. Racy, muscular structure. Try in 2021.
La Mission Haut Brion is from the Pessac-Leognan appellation. In 1664, the estate was acquired by the Congregation of the Mission; the fathers in this group fancied themselves viticultural specialists, committed to finding and planting according to the land. A devotee to the wines, Marshal de Richelieu, once said "If God forbade drinking, would he have made such good wine?" The critics are also fans, evidenced by Robert Parker awarding the Bordeaux red blend with 100 points on the 2000, 2009 and 2010 vintages. Stylistically, these wines are rich, oaky and powerful with ripe, succulent fruit and good acidity. The wines age well, but need at least 10 years in the cellar before drinking. Vintages to look out for: 1990, 1982, 1961 and 1945 1929, 1947, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1975, 1978, 1982, 1989, 1990, 2000, 2005, 2008, and 2009.
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