Firm, masculine and tannic with plenty of earth, truffle, asphalt and volcanic characteristics, this burly La Mission-Haut-Brion is bordering on being monolithic/foursquare. It reveals good body as well as plenty of tannin, adequate acidity, a dark plum/garnet color, and classic La Mission terroir characteristics of smoke, scorched earth, spice, roasted meats and camphor. Neither big nor wimpish, it, like many wines of this vintage, appears to be aging nicely. While fully mature, it displays enough youthful characteristics, from its tannin to its vibrant, moderately intense fruit, to suggest it will hold up for another two decades.
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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