Intense aromas of blackberries, black licorice and currants, with mineral undertones. Full-bodied, with a solid core of tannins and a long, silky finish. Still holding back, but is concentrated and powerful. The 1996 is always talked about, but I think…
The 2013 La Mission Haut Brion Blanc, a blend of 24% Sauvignon Blanc and 76% Semillon, had a surprisingly backward, stoic bouquet that frankly refused to come out to play when I tasted it at the château. The palate is much better and more representative, very well balanced and powerful, with notes of grapefruit and honeysuckle, quite spicy towards the finish, as if making up for the reticence on the nose. This is a La Mission Haut Brion Blanc that I suspect will grow up to be outgoing and maybe even fiery, but it will require several years in bottle to settle down.
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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