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This vintage is aging at a glacial pace and the tannins are currently more significant than their counterbalancing components of fruit and glycerin. While the word “potential” seems to be the most positive descriptor for this vintage, there are some nagging doubts about whether all the tannins will melt away and the fruit will hold. As in most 1995s, the color remains a healthy dark plum/purple. One of the bigger wines of the vintage, the ripe, powerful Merlot component has buttressed the Cabernet elements, giving the wine plenty of body, tannin and La Mission’s classic asphalt, cassis, blackberry, smoky barbecue, meaty notes intermixed with a hint of hot rocks. The 1995 is still a young wine and I am beginning to wonder if this vintage overall will resemble 1975 rather than something with more charm? Anticipated maturity: 2020-2035?.
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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