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Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion 1990

Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
  • RP96
  • WS93
  • RP100
  • WS98
  • WE98
  • JS100
  • RP99
  • WE98
  • WE97
  • JS96
  • RP95
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Winemaker Notes

Dense, rich powerful and concentrated. A bouquet of mineral scents, cassis and black currants and earthy, smoky scents.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 96
The Wine Advocate

The 1990 La Mission Haut Brion is a wine that just gives so much pleasure that it seems almost immoral to criticize. For sure, it is not in the same league as the awe-inspiring 1989, yet it has such an engaging, quintessential La Mission bouquet full of warm gravel, chestnut, morels and bay leaf scents that you just fall instantly under its charms. It seems to just grow in the glass. The palate is beautifully balanced with great depth but is still a little grainy in texture, and I noticed how it evolved almost a Musigny-like personality with time in the glass. I suggested back in 2014 that it might improve with continued bottle age. Perhaps now I believe that it has reached the top of its plateau, yet the substance and the persistence—the energy—of this Pessac-Leognan suggests that it will give 20 years of drinking pleasure. No, it's not as good as the 1989 La Mission Haut Brion, then again, few wines are. Tasted May 2017.

WS 93
Wine Spectator

Much more linear and firm than the 1989. Full- to medium-bodied, with firm tannins and a racy finish. A fine wine. '89/'90 Bordeaux non-blind horizontal. Drink now.

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Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion

Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion

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Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, , France - Bordeaux
Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion
In 1664, Madame de Lestonnac bequeathed the domaine of La Mission Haut-Brion to the Peres Lazaristes, a congregation founded by Saint Vincent de Paul. The "good fathers" worked to restore their property to its rightful worth. After them, the Chiapella family (owners in the 19th century) and Woltner family (owners between 1919 and 1983) never stopped improving the vineyard and modernizing the cellars. Since 1983, the Dillon family, already owner of Chateau Haut-Brion, continues the same policy under the presidency of H.R.H. Prince Robert of Luxembourg.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

KTZ6535_1990 Item# 6535

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