Something about La Mission Haut Brion
Haut Brion’s sister property has a habit of trumping its more illustrious sibling. Owned by Domaine Clarence Dillon S.A., La Mission’s vineyards lie in the same suburbs as those of Haut Brion on deep gravel croupes interspersed with clay. The cepage is not dissimilar in the red wine (48% Cabernet, 45% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc) although the Haut Brion Blanc (formally Laville Haut Brion) has a lot more Semillon in the blend than Haut Brion Blanc.
Stylistically, La Mission Haut Brion rouges is more accessible and open than the deeply mineral and slightly introverted Haut Brion when young, but given time the Haut Brion will begin to show its power. Both wines reward long term aging to be at their best.
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The 2006 Château La Mission Haut-Brion has a very attractive, captivating bouquet: red berry fruit, warm gravel, Hoisin and a pinch of truffle all beautifully conveyed. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin that lend this La Mission such symmetry and detail. It is not a powerful wine, never pressing its foot down hard on the accelerator, but that is one of it strengths, and those black truffle and mineral notes surfacing towards the poised finish are entrancing. Classic from start to finish, the only facet that is missing is that peacock's tail on the finish.
This is so perfumed and pretty. Classy and elegant on the nose, with currant, light vanilla and a hint of lilac. Full-bodied, with ultrafine tannins and a long, long finish. All in finesse. Very impressive for the vintage; could be the wine of the vintage.
59% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc. 55% of total production. Deep crimson with strong purple notes. Fairly mild nose and rather voluptuous palate entry. Very fine tannins but with pretty rigid backbone. A certain velvetiness. Round and fine. But muted. Certainly refreshing but there is a little green streak on the finish. Seems weaker than I would have expected. Too much Tour in here? Opened up in the glass - more aromatic and playful than the Haut-Brion. But lighter and therefore apparently skinnier.
A somewhat under-the-radar La Mission, the 2006 was generally overlooked following the brilliance of the 2005. A young, dense purple-hued wine that is developing beautifully, it exhibits notes of Asian plum sauce, charcoal, barbecue smoke, roasted meats, graphite and background oak. Full-bodied with good acidity, moderate tannin and a vigorous, powerful youthfulness, the 2006 will age more quickly than the 2005, but it still requires another 5-8 years of cellaring. Anticipated Maturity: 2014-2035.