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A candidate for the wine of the vintage from this somewhat forgotten year, consumers should be seeking out wines from the Right Bank and Graves as 1998 was a great vintage in those appellations. La Mission’s 1998 exhibits a healthy, opaque blue/purple color with no lightening at the edge. Thirty minutes of aeration brings forth a sensational bouquet of chocolate, cedar, truffles, graphite, blackberries, cassis and incense. La Mission’s so-called scorched earth/charcoal/hot rocks characteristic has not yet appeared. Full-bodied with superb purity, a multilayered texture, sweet tannin, good acidity and a fabulously long finish, this great, young La Mission-Haut-Brion’s finest days are yet to come. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2040.
Very dark ruby color still. The nose is deep and dense, with intense aromas of licorice, blackberry, warm stones and a hint of sweet tobacco. Full-bodied, with flavors of berries, iodine and chocolate. The tannin structure builds on the palate. Still needs to come together. A baby.
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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